India has confirmed its next space mission with Chandrayaan-3, as per a press conference helmed by Kailasavadivoo Sivan, chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The next mission to the moon for India will again head for the as-yet unexplored lunar south pole, where orbiters, including India’s first moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, have noticed vast water deposits at. This time, ISRO aims to successfully land a lander and rover, in process undoing the technical error that caused a glitch in the braking of Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander module, which crashed upon impact with the lunar surface.

India’s minister for space, Jitendra Singh, has further stated that Chandrayaan-3 will take off before the end of 2020. However, word from ISRO Chief Sivan has suggested that in a bid to ensure technical accuracy, the launch date may “spill over” to 2021. Such delays are not unnatural, and almost all space missions work on a slightly stretched deadline in order to try and ensure success. In ways, Chandrayaan-3 will aim to achieve the original mission objectives that were set for Chandrayaan-2. This entails studying the lunar south pole, where the water reservoirs are expected to hold multiple answers for mankind.

Among many, the lunar water deposits may help us further understand the origin of life on Earth, and even attempt to find the first confirmed sign of life outside Earth. ISRO’s latest press conference has further stated that Chandrayaan-3’s total cost, earmarked at Rs 615 crore, will be lesser than Chandrayaan-2, which cost India a total of Rs 960 crore. India’s space missions have so far been particularly prudent, and the upcoming moon mission aims to continue on the same note.

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Mankind’s exploration of space is yet again putting the focus back on landing humans on the moon, after the historic Apollo missions were cancelled. While India’s moon missions aim to make scientific breakthroughs in exploring the lunar surface, NASA’s ambitious Artemis mission, scheduled for 2024, aims to take humans to the moon, after NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan’s last walk on the lunar surface back in 1972.

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