India’s space agency, dubbed the Indian Space Research Organization (or ISRO for short), is aiming to land a spacecraft at the Moon’s South Pole in an effort to learn more about the presence of water there. Perhaps more importantly, it would be the first space mission to land at the Moon’s South Pole.
The mission would be called Chandrayaan-2, and it would be comprised of three parts, including an orbiter, a lander, and a rover, each of which would contribute to lunar-centric science observations on behalf of ISRO. As the orbiter scans the Moon’s surface and a rover explores a specific region, the lander would relay radio communications back to scientists on Earth.
While missions to the Moon are nothing new in the name of space science, humans have never landed a spacecraft at the Moon’s South Pole before. This region is purportedly teeming with impact craters, and the insides of these craters never see sunlight, which is why planetary scientists think they may contain traces of frozen water.
If true, then these craters could have implications for deep-space missions, especially those that are expected to take place on the Moon’s surface. Harnessing this potential resource would be vital to deep-space astronauts as they conduct long-term missions in space.