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Russia’s Moon Race Against India; To Launch Its First Moon Lander In 47 Years

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Russia is all set to race to the moon against India in what will be its first attempt in 47 years to reach the moon’s South Pole. It is all set to launch its lunar landing spacecraft in an attempt to explore the region of the moon which has potential supply of water for a future human presence.

The launch will take place from the Vostochny cosmodrome which is 3,450 miles (5,550 km) east of Moscow. It comes four weeks after India launched its Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander, scheduled to touchdown at the pole on August 23.

Moon’s south pole has been a major challenge for astronomers as it’s rough terrain makes the spacecrafts difficult to land. However, according to experts, the race to the south pole is legitimate as it possesses enormous amounts of ice that may be used for drinking purpose and extracting fuel and oxygen.

Russian space agency Roscosmos briefed British news agency Reuters about its plans. It said that its spacecraft, Luna-25, would first undergo a journey of five days to reach till the moon and another five to seven days to orbit the moon and would then finally land on one of three possible landing sites near the south pole. According to this schedule, the Russian spacecraft could either match the timing of India’s Chandrayaan 3 or could narrowly beat it to reach the surface first.

According to Roscosmos, the two missions have distinct landing locations that would allow them to not interfere in each other’s plans. The space agency said, “There is no danger that they interfere with each other or collide. There is enough space for everyone on the moon.”

India has sent Chandrayaan-3 to research for two weeks, whereas Luna-25 will spend a year on the moon to send relevant information to the agency. Before these attempts, Japan’s plans to become the first private space mission to land on the moon failed in April. It has sent it’s ispace for the purpose.

Luna-25, weighing 1.8 tonnes and carrying 31 kg (68 pounds) of scientific equipment, will take some portions of rock samples after scooping till the depths of up to 15 cm (6 inches) to gauge whether the frozen water can support human life.

Space researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences Lev Zeleny said, “Because the moon is the Earth’s seventh continent, we are simply ‘condemned’ to tame it.”

The launch, which was originally scheduled for October 2021, has been postponed for over two years. The European Space Agency had planned to test its Pilot-D guidance camera by connecting it to the Luna-25 spacecraft, but it severed connections with the project after Russia invaded Ukraine in February of last year.

A village in Russia’s far east will be emptied of its people on Friday at 7:30 am. The measure will be taken as there’s “one in a million chance” that one of the rocket stages that launches Luna-25 will crash land there, according to a local official.

Talking to Russian news outlet Business FM,Alexei Maslov said that the 26 residents of Shakhtinsky would be brought to a location where they could see the launch and receive complimentary breakfast before returning within 3-1/2 hours. Fishermen and hunters in the area, he claimed, had also been warned.

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