India will conduct its second moon landing attempt on Wednesday, a mission seen as crucial to lunar exploration and India’s status as a space power, just days after a similar Russian lander crashed.

The Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft will attempt to land at the moon’s south pole at around 6:04 p.m. local time (12:34 p.m. GMT) on Wednesday, less than a week after the failed Russian Luna-25 mission. a week.

The Indian mission — Chandrayaan means “lunar rover” in Hindi and Sanskrit — is India’s second attempt to land on the moon. In 2019, ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 mission successfully deployed an orbiter, but its lander crashed.

“Landing on the south pole (of the moon) would actually allow India to explore whether there is water ice on the moon. This is very important for the accumulated data and science of lunar geology,” said Kara Filotiko, partner and managing director of consulting firm SpaceTec Partners .

There was anticipation and excitement for the landing on Wednesday, with newspapers running banner headlines and news channels running countdowns to the landing.

Prayers were held in temples, mosques and churches across the country, with schoolchildren waving the Indian tricolor flag as they waited for a live broadcast of the landing.

According to media reports, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will watch the plane land from South Africa, where he is attending the ongoing BRICS summit.

Rugged terrain makes Antarctic landings difficult, and the first touchdown would be historic. Water ice in the region could provide fuel, oxygen and drinking water for future missions.

For India, a successful moon landing would signal its rise as a space power, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government looks to spur investment in private space launches and related satellite businesses.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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(This article has not been edited by NDTV staff except for the title, from the press release)

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