Friday, 25 August 2023 04:55

India’s south pole moon landing is big business for global space race

Rate this item
(0 votes)

For all the risks, for all that was riding on a successful landing, the descent to the moon’s surface was remarkably uneventful, if not exactly stress-free. The Vikram lander, part of India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission, dropped steadily on its thrusters to the rock below, slowed to a hover as it approached the ground, and finally came to a rest on the dusty terrain.

When confirmation came that the lander was down, anxiety in the control room gave way to cheers and applause. With the soft touchdown, Indiabecomes the first country to land a probe at the moon’s south pole, a rugged region where deep craters lie in permanent shadow and where ice could provide water, oxygen and fuel for future missions. The first will be on the moon itself, and in lunar orbit, but they could also supply trips to Mars, with the benefit that the materials do not need to be lifted off the Earth’s surface at great cost. It is a region of key scientific interest.

It may be half a century since the last Apollo mission, but landing on the moon remains a huge technical feat. India is only the fourth country to pull off a controlled landing on the surface, after the US, China and the former Soviet Union. That India chose one of the moon’s poles as its destination – a tougher prospect than landing near the equator – makes the success that much sweeter.

“Knowing that it can be done doesn’t make it easy,” said Prof Martin Barstow, director of strategic partnerships at Space Park Leicester. “Landing at the poles is much more difficult than landing at the equator. You’ve got to get into a polar orbit to release the lander and nobody has done that before. The US hasn’t landed anything at the poles on the moon.”

There is more to the achievement than the technical feat. The landing boosts the prestige of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) less than a week after a Russian probe spun out of control and crashed into the moon’s surface. The ill-fated Luna-25 mission was Russia’s first attempt to land on the moon in 47 years.

“This is an exciting moment for Indian space exploration,” said Prof Andrew Coates at UCL’s Mullard space science laboratory. “Following their earlier successful orbiters to the moon and Mars, this cements their position as one of the key spacefaring nations and is an impressive scientific and engineering achievement.”

The prime minister, Narendra Modi, followed the landing from the Brics summit in South Africa and appeared on the Indian space agency’s live stream with a message for the world. “India is on the moon,” he said, adding that all countries, including those from the global south, were capable of such missions. “The sky is not the limit.”

The landing raises India’s profile as a spacefaring nation at a crucial time. Like other countries, India has privatised its rocket launches. Through foreign investment, India plans to expand its share of the global launch market fivefold over the next decade. That ambition will be helped by India being seen as a low-cost provider of space launch services.

There will certainly be demand. The global space launch market is expected to grow from $9bn (£7bn) this year to more than $20bn in 2030. Beyond satellite launches, big space agencies including Nasa, the European Space Agency, Russia and China are gearing up for a return to the moon, a long-term commitment that involves building a moon-orbiting space station and lunar habitats for astronauts to live in. “There’s so much that needs to be done that no one country can do it all,” said Barstow. “There will be a place for many countries in going back to the moon.”

 

The Guardian, UK

February 21, 2024

The truth about success Jeff Bezos knows that most people don't

In the fast-paced business world, conventional wisdom dictates that admitting mistakes is a sign of…
February 22, 2024

Police arrest LP national chairman, Abure

Operatives of the Nigeria police have arrested Julius Abure, national chairman of the Labour Party…
February 22, 2024

Using this 1 word more often can make you 50% more influential, says Harvard study

Sometimes, it takes a single word — like “because” — to change someone’s mind. That’s…
February 20, 2024

Lion kills carer at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife

A veterinary technologist working at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Olabode Olawuyi, was on…
February 22, 2024

Bandits take over Zamfara-Sokoto highway, abduct 26 travellers

Bandits on Tuesday afternoon kidnapped 26 travelers along the Gusau-Sokoto highway. The bandits who were…
February 23, 2024

What to know after Day 729 of Russia-Ukraine war

WESTERN PERSPECTIVE Russia says it has taken Pobieda village in Donetsk region, Ukraine reports fighting…
February 23, 2024

WhatsApp launches 4 new text formatting options including bulleted lists and block quotes - here's…

WhatsApp has launched four new text formatting options today These are bulleted lists, numbered lists,…
February 12, 2024

Super Eagles fail to lift AFCON cup, lose to Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have lost 2-1 to the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in…
Nothing to show. You must configure the data source of the widget.

NEWSSCROLL TEAM: 'Sina Kawonise: Publisher/Editor-in-Chief; Prof Wale Are Olaitan: Editorial Consultant; Femi Kawonise: Head, Production & Administration; Afolabi Ajibola: IT Manager;
Contact Us: [email protected] Tel/WhatsApp: +234 811 395 4049

Copyright © 2015 - 2024 NewsScroll. All rights reserved.