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India’s Chandrayaan-3 Mission to Investigate Water at the Moon’s South Pole

India’s space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has successfully launched its latest mission, Chandrayaan-3, to explore the south pole of the moon. This mission aims to investigate the water reserves present at the moon’s south pole, which could potentially support the establishment of a permanent lunar base in the future.

Exploring the Moon’s South Pole

Chandrayaan-3, named after the Sanskrit word for “mooncraft”, was launched aboard a Launch Vehicle Mark-III rocket from the southern state of Andhra Pradesh on July 14. The previous Chandrayaan-2 mission, which took place in 2019, unfortunately ended in failure due to a software glitch, causing the lander to crash into the lunar surface. The mission had intended to deploy a rover that would explore the moon’s south pole, but both the lander and rover were destroyed in the crash.

Prior to Chandrayaan-2, India’s first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, successfully placed an orbiter and probe on the moon. The probe intentionally collided with the moon at high speed, also targeting the south pole. Chandrayaan-1’s success made India the fourth nation to leave its flag on the moon, after the US, the USSR, and China.

Chandrayaan-3 Mission Details

The upcoming Chandrayaan-3 mission is a repeat of Chandrayaan-2, but with some modifications. Unlike its predecessor, Chandrayaan-3 will not include an orbiter. Instead, the lander and rover will directly communicate with Earth without the need for an intermediary satellite. The mission is expected to reach the moon on August 23 or 24, and the lander will separate from the orbit and descend towards the moon’s surface. The rover, once released, is anticipated to function for approximately two weeks in the challenging lunar environment.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his excitement about the mission on Twitter, stating that July 4, 2023, will be a significant day for India’s space sector and that Chandrayaan-3 carries the hopes and dreams of the nation.

Conclusion

India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission marks another milestone in the country’s space exploration efforts. By focusing on the moon’s south pole and investigating water reserves, India aims to contribute to future lunar exploration and potentially pave the way for the establishment of a permanent human presence on the moon.

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