India has successfully launched a new mission to land a robot explorer on the South Pole of the moon, a journey that will take over a month.
India successfully launched an unmanned rocket on Friday which is due to fly to the far side of the moon in bid to land a robot explorer on the lunar surface, the country’s space agency said.
Chandrayaan-3, the word for “moon craft” in Sanskrit, took off from Sriharikota in southern India with an orbiter, a lander, and the rover.
The journey is expected to take slightly more than a month, landing on the moon’s surface in late August. A successful landing would make India the fourth country after the United States, the Soviet Union, and China, to achieve the feat.
It is India’s second attempt to land a robotic spacecraft near the moon’s little-explored South Pole. A previous mission in 2019 ended in failure when its lander crashed while making its final descent to deploy a rover to search for signs of water.
With India emerging as the world’s fifth-largest economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist government is eager to show off the country’s prowess in security and technology.
It is using research from space and elsewhere to solve problems at home.
India’s space programme has already helped develop satellite, communication, and remote-sensing technologies, and has been used to gauge underground water levels and predict weather in the country, which is prone to cycles of drought and flood.