India launches a lander and rover to explore the moon’s south pole

India’s space agency has successfully launched a lander and rover to explore the moon’s south pole, in a fresh attempt after a failed mission in 2019.

Mission overview: Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan-3 mission involves an orbiter, a lander, and a rover, which commenced its journey from a launch pad in Sriharikota, southern India.
* The spacecraft is set to land on the moon’s surface in late August.
* The mission was celebrated with applause at the Satish Dhawan Space Center, as well as by thousands of Indians outside the mission control center.

Previous mission woes and current objectives: Their prior unsuccessful mission in 2019, aimed at studying permanently shadowed moon craters thought to contain water, failed due to a software glitch.
* This time, the main objective is to achieve a safe and soft landing on the moon.
* The six-wheeled lander and rover module of Chandrayaan-3 will provide data on lunar soil and rocks, aiding the scientific community with information about their chemical and elemental compositions.

International context: Successful completion of the operation would make India the fourth country to land on the moon’s surface, following the United States, the Soviet Union, and China.
* Other countries and private companies are part of this ongoing global race towards successful lunar landings.

Future plans: India plans its first mission to the International Space Station next year, in collaboration with the United States.
* There are also plans to launch an Indian astronaut from Indian soil on an Indian rocket in the year 2024.
* As of April, India has launched 424 satellites for 34 countries.

View original article on NPR

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