India’s Chandrayaan-3 moon landing: How to watch

In World

This week was shaping up to be a split-screen race between Russia and India to become the first nation to land on the moon’s south pole. But after Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft crashed, all eyes will be on India on Wednesday to see whether its second attempt at a lunar landing is successful.

If it touches down, the Chandrayaan-3 mission will make India the fourth nation to land on the surface of the moon.

Chandrayaan-3, which means “moon vehicle” in Hindi and Sanskrit, launched from the Bay of Bengal last month. If all goes to plan, the spacecraft — which does not have any astronauts onboard — will deploy a 60-pound, solar-powered rover to explore the moon’s surface for two weeks. The mission’s stated objectives, according to the Indian Space Research Organization, are to land safely on the moon, deploy a rover and conduct scientific experiments.

Has India gone to the moon before?

India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008 — which was crucial in the discovery of lunar water molecules — was an impact probe rather than the landing of a spacecraft.

The country tried to land a spacecraft on the moon’s surface in 2019, but Chandrayaan-2 failed after contact was lost with the lander minutes before touchdown. “We came very close but we need to cover more ground,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the time. “Our determination to touch the moon has become even stronger.”

Only three nations — the United States, Russia (as the Soviet Union) and China — have successfully landed spacecraft on the moon’s surface.

Why is everyone trying to get to the moon (again)?

There’s another space race happening, though it’s a very different one from the Cold War-era competition between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Countries including the United States — and India, with Chandrayaan-3 — are aiming to establish presences on or learn more about the south pole of the moon, where pools of ice could provide water for long-term settlements or act as a fueling station of sorts for space exploration. (Water’s component parts, hydrogen and oxygen, can be used as rocket fuel.)

As Russia and India attempt lunar landings, the moon rush gets crowded

How can I watch Chandrayaan-3?

People in India can watch the launch on public broadcaster DD National TV. For international viewers, the event will be live-streamed on the Indian space agency’s website, YouTube channel and Facebook page. The broadcast is set to start at 5:20 p.m. Indian Standard Time, or 7:50 a.m. Eastern time. Agency officials said the landing may be postponed to Sunday if conditions are not favorable.

Read More: India’s Chandrayaan-3 moon landing: How to watch

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