India’s space agency wants to touch down its rover on the Moon’s south pole, an area on the Earth’s natural satellite where no one has gone before. The launch is scheduled for July.
“All the [ISRO] missions, whatever we have had till now [to the moon], have all landed near the moon’s equator. This is a place where nobody has gone,” the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief, Kailasavadivoo Sivan, told the Hindu.
India’s second lunar exploration mission, Chandrayaan-2, seeks to gain access to some “new science” and information, the chairman said. For example, one of the goals of the probe is to find water on the Moon.
The space agency earlier said all three modules of the mission, Orbiter, Lander (Vikram), and Rover (Pragyan), is set to lift off aboard the GSLV-MkIII rocket between July 9 and 16, with an expected Moon landing on September 6. The launch was initially expected last year, but it was delayed several times to conduct further tests.
India is not the only country attempting to reach the uncharted south pole of the Moon. China has recently announced plans to build a lunar research station in the same area. However, it will not happen in the near future, as Beijing’s mission is to be launched in about 10 years, according to Xinhua.
“What they [China] are going to do, we don’t know. The main reason [why India is going there] is nobody has gone [to] that side till now,” Sivan said.