India and Russia are in a new race for the moon – both will try to land next week

3D-mallinnos kullanvärisente aurinkokennoin varusestusta modulista kuussa.

Superpowers India and Russia set their sights on the moon. In the resurgent space race, the target is the moon’s south pole.

The Russian Luna-25 rocket will possibly land on the moon as early as Monday, August 21.

Indian Chandrayaan-3 is scheduled to land on the moon on Wednesday 23 or Thursday 24 August, writes Yle Uutiset.

Jaan Praks, assistant professor at Aalto University, hopes for the sake of science that both rockets succeed in landing on the moon.

– We hope that both missions succeed. They would be the first soft landings on the moon’s south pole, Praks told Yle Uutiset.

The race to the moon is now about the moon’s south pole. Russia last set its sights on the moon in 1976.

This is not the first time that India has attempted to send a rocket to the moon, but it may be the first time that the country has succeeded in the mission. In 2019, India was forced to cancel the launch of the Chandrayaan-2 rocket due to technical problems.

– Back then, India had quite a bit of experience with projects like this. No report was ever published detailing what went wrong, but apparently the lunar lander was turned upside down before contact was made.

Apart from revenge for the failed mission four years ago, Asian domination of the moon is also at stake for India. In this century, only China has managed to land on the moon.

The moon’s south pole in sight this time

In the past, the moon landings have mainly taken place at the moon’s equator. Now the eyes are directed towards the South Pole.

– This is of scientific, economic and also political importance for the future. The moon’s south pole is the most suitable place to build a lunar station, Praks explains to Yle Uutiset.

At the moon’s south pole, the sun shines constantly, so there is a source of energy both night and day. Therefore, it is also warmer at the South Pole, with temperatures of up to 13–15 degrees below zero. The temperature on the moon can drop to around -200 degrees during nights.

Water has also been discovered at the bottom of lunar craters in the polar region, which could be a water resource for a possible crew on a future lunar station at the South Pole.

The ice may also be of scientific importance. In the ancient ice there may be traces from the early phases of the moon and also information about the distant history of the earth, which has long since been lost in the movements of the continental plates.

A display of technological progress

According to the Russian space agency Roskosmos, the country’s most important challenge with the moon landing is practicing soft landings. The Luna-25 rocket also carries various tools to, among other things, examine the rock dust on the moon’s surface.

The Indian mission with the Chandrayaan-3 rocket is more complicated. In addition to survey instruments, the lunar lander also has a quadricycle with it.

– The display of technology is important for both missions. Russia has not landed on the moon for a long time and for India this would be the first soft landing, says Praks.

Since the first moon landing, technology has developed a lot. Now it is not only the great powers that are aiming for the moon, but also private companies.

Praks estimates that commercial quadricycles will also soon move on the moon, as NASA’s Artemis program progresses.

Nasa’s Artemis program aims, among other things, to build a permanent base on the moon and a space station in lunar orbit.

– In today’s geopolitical situation, different blocs are trying to get an edge also in space. We know that there are very few suitable locations for a manned station on the Moon. Those who now lose the race will automatically be in second place if there is a need for such a station in the future.

The article is a shortened, translated version of Yle Uutiset’s article Both India and Russia are trying to close Kuuhun ensi weeke – this takia krötolaisemme interestanaa nyt miejler kuin maksanasiin written by Johannes Blom.


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