Russia has been aiming to reach the Moon’s south pole in a race with India. India’s Chandrayaan-3 and Russia’s Luna-25, both planned to land on the Moon’s south pole in the coming days.
But Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft has crashed into the Moon after spinning out of control.
The Russian space agency Roscosmos announced on August 20, 2023, that the Luna-25 spacecraft had crashed into the Moon due to a technical malfunction and could not be recovered. It was Russia’s first Moon mission in almost 50 years.
If Chandrayaan-3 successfully lands, it will be the first spacecraft to land on the Moon’s south pole.
While Luna-25 was expected to land first, on Monday, August 21, Chandrayaan-3 is likely to touch down two days later, on August 23.
The Moon’s south pole is a region that has not been explored by any spacecraft before.
The exploration of the Moon’s South Pole is a challenging task due to factors such as rugged terrain, less sunlight, and weaker communication links. In addition to these challenges, the Moon’s South Pole also has areas that are in permanent shadow, which could make it difficult to land safely.
However, the potential rewards of exploring this region are great, and the challenges are worth overcoming. It is thought to be rich in water ice, which could be used for fuel, oxygen, and drinking water for future moon missions or a lunar colony.