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India Is About to Attempt Its First Moon Landing

If successful, India will only be the fourth country to achieve this feat.

by Meera Navlakha
14 July 2019, 10:43pm

Photo by Mike Petrucci via Unsplash

This article originally appeared on VICE Asia

On July 14, India will launch the much-awaited Chandrayaan 2, the country's first attempt at a moon landing. It's most powerful rocket, the GSLV Mk III, will be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh.

If deemed successful, India will be the fourth country to have achieved this milestone, following Russia, the United States, and China. At a fraction of the price too, according to Gulf News. It spent $140 million to get the mission up and running—a figure that pales in comparison to the other countries' lunar programs.

According to the Department of Space in India’s Space Research Organization, Chandrayaan 2 will be the first lunar mission to reach the moon’s south polar region, a region that no other country has touched so far.

India’s first lunar mission in 2008, which merely orbited the moon for a year, resulted in the discovery of water molecules on its surface. Exploring this is a major motivating factor in this next mission.

Chandrayaan 2 is said to be far more advanced than its predecessor, with an orbiter, a lander, and a small rover. The lander and rover are created too last for a single lunar day (roughly 14 days on earth) before they shut down.

The purpose of the latest expedition is to improve further understanding of the moon, which, according to India's space agency's website, will “benefit India and humanity as a whole.”

The mission is scheduled to land on the moon’s surface in early September.

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