Moon landing anticipation builds for India after Russia’s spacecraft crash

India’s space agency unveiled pictures its spacecraft clicked of the far part of the Moon as it went for trying to touch down on the lunar South Pole. Russia failed while attempting the same. The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft had been in an intense competition with Russia to be the first to touch down the lunar South Pole, an area with shadowed craters considered to hold water ice that could help a future Moon settlement.

As news of the collapsing of Russia’s Luna-25 mission unveiled on Sunday, Isro said Chandrayaan-3 was on course to touch down on Wednesday. The mission – Chandrayaan refers to “Moon vehicle” in Hindi and the language Sanskrit – is India’s second try to touch down on the south pole of the Moon. In 2019, Isro’s Chandrayaan-2 mission gained victory in deploying an orbiter but its lander crashed. Rough terrain makes a south pole landing hard to be executed, but making a first landing would be historic.

The area’s water ice could provide fuel, oxygen and drinking water for future missions. Pictures unveiled on Monday showed craters on the Moon’s surface taken by the Isro craft’s Lander Hazard Detection and Avoidance Camera, which is created to help find a secure landing location for the spacecraft. India’s Moon mission carried out on July 14, and the lander module of Chandrayaan-3 separated from the propulsion module last week.