Russia, India, China, U.S. are heading for the lunar south pole


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  one month ago  •  5 comments

By:   Tom Costello and Dareh Gregorian

Russia, India, China, U.S. are heading for the lunar south pole
Russia's expected to land in the coming days, followed by India on Aug. 23. The U.S. wants to land astronauts in 2025, with China planning missions before 2030.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

The space race is back on, now with more countries competing.

Roughly six decades after the Soviet Union and the U.S. raced each other to get to the moon, a new competition has emerged. This time around, the focus is on the lunar south pole, where scientists have detected traces of water ice.

Russia last week launched its first moon-landing spacecraft in 47 years; it's expected to touch down in the area in the coming days. India isn't far behind, with the goal of having a lander touch down Aug. 23.

The U.S., meanwhile, is rushing to be the first country to land astronauts at the site, with a crewed mission planned for 2025. China also plans missions to the area, with and without astronauts, before the end of the decade.

The area is coveted because the water could be used for rocket fuel. It could also help establish a permanent base on the moon and serve as a launchpad to Mars and beyond.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in an interview that the area is far more treacherous than the site of the first moon landing in 1969.

"It's not like what you saw where Neil [Armstrong] and Buzz [Aldrin] were landing, constantly lit from the sun, a few craters here and there," Nelson said.

"The south pole of the moon is pockmarked with deep craters. And because of the angle of the sun coming in, most of those craters are in total darkness the entire time, so it lessens the amount of area that you can actually land on and utilize," he said.

"If indeed we find water in abundance there, that could be utilized for future crews and spacecraft," Nelson added.

NASA is preparing for a return to the moon's surface with the Artemis II mission next year, when astronauts will orbit the moon ahead of a planned 2025 landing.

Nelson said he wished Russia well with its mission, noting the two countries have a long history of cooperation when it comes to space travel.

There is a potential dark side of the moon race if the U.S. isn't the first country to land astronauts in the desired area. Nelson said he has concerns that China could try claim the territory if it gets there first.

"I don't want China to get to the south pole first with humans and then say, 'This is ours; stay out,'" Nelson said, noting that the U.S. is part of a multinational agreement to share resources in space. China isn't.

"I think the space race is really between us and China, and we need to protect the interests of the international community," Nelson said.


jrDiscussion - desc
Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
1  Just Jim NC TttH    one month ago

Guess this is what was meant by "the space race" LOL

Greg Jones
Professor Guide
2  Greg Jones    one month ago

We've been there multiple times, and have done that. 

The required resources could be put to better use elsewhere.

Professor Quiet
2.1  Ronin2  replied to  Greg Jones @2    one month ago

Why are we bothering to send manned missions? Unmanned work so much better and cost less. 

Would much rather see an improved version of the Mars Range Rovers- maybe with a base that could lift samples back to earth once their mission was over.

Professor Quiet
3  Freefaller    one month ago

Just read the Russian lander suffered a failure before going into orbit.  Not sure if it's fixable or not

Professor Quiet
4  Ed-NavDoc    one month ago

Not fixable as it is now junk on the lunar surface as it crashed.


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