MOONSHOTS! Russia’s Luna-25 and India’s Chandrayaan-3 in a Space Race for the Moon’s South Pole – Missions Are Set To Land While Countries Are Gathered at BRICS Summit

Next week is set to become a landmark in Lunar exploration, as India and Russia have positioned themselves to make big advances in this next phase of the space race. And they both culminate almost simultaneously.

Two unmanned moon landings will be attempted within a few days of each other, just as the two countries are gathered in Johannesburg for the BRICS summit.

Russia’s Luna-25 lander is expected to touch down as soon as Monday, August 21. It’s the first Russian lunar mission in half a century, the first after the end of the Soviet Union.

On August 23, Chandrayaan-3 is expected to perform India’s first successful lunar landing.

Wired reported:

“Both missions are aiming for the moon’s south pole region, a site of increasing international interest because of the presence of water ice that could be extracted for oxygen or rocket propellant. It also includes critical spots known as “peaks of eternal light,” which receive near-constant solar illumination that could power future missions and moon bases.

The 20th-century space race between the United States and the former Soviet Union has given way to a more crowded lunar competition. ‘I think what we are seeing now is a race for the moon, which is again political and power-based as well as technological. The difference, of course, is that today’s geopolitical reality includes many more countries and players and also commercial entities’, says Cassandra Steer, an expert on space law and space security at the Australian National University in Canberra. ‘India has caught up with Russia at a fraction of the cost in a fraction of the time’.”

The two missions, while carrying great geopolitical meaning, are also designed to perform scientific tests, laying the terrain for a future building of permanent moon bases in the Lunar South Pole.

Also performed will be the study of minerals in the lunar soil and scanning for signs of water ice.

The actual moon landers are roughly the size of a small  automobile, and will make their final, autonomous descent from about 100 kilometers above the ground, having become free from the Moon gravity, and departing its orbit.

“But the two have many differences. India’s craft, which will land close to the lunar south pole, includes a lander called Vikram and a small rover called Pragyan. Both are solar-powered and are designed to last for a lunar day, or about two weeks. Russia’s Luna-25 will likely land near the Boguslavsky impact crater and is intended to operate for a whole year. It will run off both solar power and its radioisotope thermoelectric generator, similar to the nuclear power source that has given the Voyager spacecraft their longevity.

Russian and Indian authorities have made few public statements about these missions, and neither space agency responded to requests for comment from WIRED. But Roscosmos chief Yury Borisov did tell Russia’s TASS state news agency, ‘The goals of this mission are of purely peaceful nature’. The Indian space agency released a statement saying Chandrayaan-3 has ‘the objective of developing and demonstrating new technologies required for interplanetary missions’.”

There is, however, no guarantee of success in this new phase of moon exploration. Several Parte inferior do formulário

recent landing attempts have failed. Japan’s Ispace lander back in April, and Israel’s Beresheet lander in 2019.

And of course, India’s Chandrayaan-2 lander also crashed on the moon in 2019, right before touchdown.

Read more about India’s mission here:

Over the Moon: Indian PM Narendra Modi Celebrates ‘Fall of Bastille’ With France’s Macron, While Chandrayaan-3 Mission Takes off for Lunar Landing That Can Establish India as a Major Space Power

With so many players, one is bound to ask? How do countries get organized on the moon? There is an Outer Space Treaty, called the Artemis Accords establishes what is called ‘safety zones’. If a country ‘sets up a landing pad, equipment, or infrastructure, others are expected to keep their distance from that spot in the interest of safety’.

Reuters reported:

“The Indian space agency launched the rocket carrying the spacecraft on July 14, blasting off from the country’s main spaceport in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The lander is scheduled to attempt a touchdown on Aug 23.

Russia launched its first moon-landing spacecraft in 47 years on Aug 11, taking a more direct course to reach the moon’s south pole where scientists have detected water ice that could be used for fuel, oxygen and drinking water for future moon missions or a lunar colony.”

While the lunar south pole is desireble for a lunar base for its mineral riches and access to ice water pockets, it also has a rough terrain that complicates a landing. Chandrayaan-2 crashed in 2019 near where the Chandrayaan-3 will attempt a touchdown for this very reason.

“Chandrayaan, which means “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit, includes a 2-metre-(6.6-foot)-tall lander designed to deploy a rover expected to remain functional for two weeks running a series of experiments.”

India and Russia have massive national interests in successful landings, and while claiming the historic first is of some value, is the two countries manage successful landings this will make the BRICS summit and the whole ‘Global South’ front all the more powerful.

“Russia’s space agency Roscosmos has said the Luna-25 mission would spend 5-7 days in lunar orbit before descending to one of three possible landing sites near the pole.”

Read more about Russia’s mission here:

Promise the Moon: Russia Launches Luna-25 Attempting First Soft Landing on the South Pole of Earth’s Satellite – Arrival Is To Coincide With India’s Lunar Mission

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Paul Serran is a Brazilian writer and musician, completing his first year as a contributor to The Gateway Pundit. He has written books, articles, TV programs, documentaries, plays. He joined the 'Information war' in 2017 and started writing for an international - predominantly American - audience. Unbanned in X | Truth Social | Telegram Channel

You can email Paul Serran here, and read more of Paul Serran's articles here.

 

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