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India’s Chandrayaan-2 Launches for Lunar South Pole Mission

July 22, 2019 (EIRNS)—Adding to the international wave of space celebration, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched Chandrayaan-2 on Sunday evening, July 21. It was ISRO, with Chandrayaan-1 in 2007, that confirmed for the first time large amounts of water, frozen, on the Moon, and this mission is heading for the unexplored South Pole where that ice is. It will be in Earth orbit for a month, with Moon landing scheduled for early September. The mission will focus on the lunar surface, searching for water and minerals and measuring moonquakes, among other things. BBC reports, “India is using its most powerful rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III), in this mission. It weighs 640 tons (almost 1.5 times the weight of a fully-loaded 747 jumbo jet) and at 44 meters is as high as a 14-story building.”

Among several Twitter messages of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the event, two back-to-back tweets read:

“#Chandrayaan2 is unique because it will explore and perform studies on the south pole region of lunar terrain which is not explored and sampled by any past mission. This mission will offer new knowledge about the Moon.”

“Efforts such as #Chandrayaan2 will further encourage our bright youngsters towards science, top quality research and innovation. Thanks to Chandrayaan, India’s Lunar Programme will get a substantial boost. Our existing knowledge of the Moon will be significantly enhanced.”

ISRO’s website and Facebook page, preparing for the original launch date for Chandrayaan-2 two weeks ago, under the headline, “Inching Towards the Edge of Discovery,” wrote:

“Chandrayaan-2 is an Indian lunar mission that will boldly go where no country has ever gone before—the Moon’s south polar region. Through this effort, the aim is to improve our understanding of the Moon—discoveries that will benefit India and humanity as a whole. These insights and experiences aim at a paradigm shift in how lunar expeditions are approached for years to come, propelling further voyages into the farthest frontiers.”

ISRO also sounds a very similar note to NASA Administrator James Bridenstine:

“The Moon ... is also a promising test bed to demonstrate technologies required for deep-space missions. Chandrayaan-2 attempts to foster a new age of discovery, increase our understanding of space, stimulate the advancement of technology, promote global alliances, and inspire a future generation of explorers and scientists.”

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