UPDATE: India successfully landed on the moon on Wednesday. The Chandrayaan-3 mission was a success.
The Indian Space Research Organisation has declared this is only the first step for the nation as they hope to put people into space and orbit Venus.
EARLIER: Four years ago, India’s attempt to land a rover on the Moon ended with the spectacular crash of the Chandrayaan-2 mission into the lunar surface. Tonight, the eyes of a nation will hope to see its successor avoid the same fate.
A live stream of the attempt will be available here from the Indian Space Research Organisation from 9:50pm AEST (11:50am UTC/5:20pm IST) ahead of the scheduled landing at 10:34pm AEST.
If successful, India will become just the fourth nation after the United States, Soviet Union and China to land a vehicle on the Moon, and the first to do so at its unexplored south pole.
Chandrayaan-3 key facts
- The Chandrayaan-3 mission cost approximately $117 million (US$75 million/₹6.2 billion), making it one of the cheapest Moon missions ever launched.
- The mission’s Vikram lander is scheduled to land near the wreckage site of the failed Chandrayaan-2 attempt, which collided with the Moon in 2019.
- If successful, Vikram will release a lunar rover to explore the Moon’s south pole, collect samples and search for water.
Earlier this week, Russia confirmed its attempt to be the first to the south pole had failed when its Luna-25 mission crashed into the Moon’s surface and “ceased to exist.” It was Russia’s first Moon mission since the end of the Soviet Union.
Both missions set off in hope of identifying both water and rare metals believed to exist in the surface of the southern pole.
Canberra’s Deep Space Communication Complex will be involved in tracking Vikram as it begins its descent, along with other NASA Deep Space Network antennas in Spain and California.