India and China Both Explore New Moon Regions at Apollo Anniversary
July 8, 2019 (EIRNS)—When celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo astronauts’ first landing on the Moon are taking place around the world July 20, both China and India will be in the process of exploring important and previously unexplored regions of the Moon.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is one week away from the planned July 15 launch date of a rover mission, Chandrayaan-2, to the south polar region, for a landing on Sept. 6. That area has not been explored by any nation before. Chandrayaan-2 consists of a launch rocket, lander (named Vikram) and rover (called Pragyan). According to India Today, which posted artists’ representations of the launch and many pictures, “Chandrayaan-2 is an Indian lunar mission that will go where no country has ever gone before—the Moon’s south polar region. The aim of the mission is to improve our understanding of the Moon—discoveries that will benefit India and humanity as a whole.”
ISRO sent an orbiter, Chandrayaan-1, to the Moon in 2008.
China, meanwhile, reactivated the Chang’e-4 lunar lander and rover, Yutu-2, on May 28, after a dormant period, and that rover is now moving on the far side of the Moon.
RT reported today that China has announced construction completion of its first Mars rover, scheduled for launch in July or August of next year. “Its mission is to hunt for signs of life, and also explore if Mars can be terraformed to make it habitable for humans,” RT wrote. If all goes well, it could be sending data to Earth as soon as 2021. The mission is unique, in that for the first time, a space agency plans a mission that will including orbiting the planet, landing on it, and deploying a rover all in the same mission, reported Xinhua, July 6.