Why on earth are nations back in the race to get back to the moon?
New Delhi, August 27: Nearly 50 years after humanity’s giant leap to the Moon, there is a renewed interest in returning to the lunar surface.
Water and the increased availability of elements such as oxygen, iron, silicon, hydrogen and titanium were the main attractions for scientists aiming to return to the moon. It could also provide a gateway to other interplanetary missions.
Scientists also believe that the lunar outpost may serve as a backup for civilization in the event of a global catastrophe, such as an asteroid impact or pandemic.
Currently, about six space missions from three countries – India (one), the United States (four), and South Korea (one) are orbiting the moon. While spacecraft had previously successfully landed on the lunar surface near the equator, only India’s Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft made history on the lunar south pole.
This is mainly due to the difficulty of landing due to the uneven terrain and the lack of sunlight. Also, the South Pole is not visible from Earth, so it is also difficult to establish contact with spacecraft there.
However, Russia’s Luna lander mission, which was expected to be at the lunar south pole with Chandrayaan 3, crashed on August 20, while entering a pre-landing orbit on the lunar surface.
Countries such as Japan, the United States, Israel, China and Russia are likely to soon launch orbital and landing missions to the moon.
“The south side of the Moon is of particular interest to scientists because of the presence of water ice in the permanently illustrated regions around it. The extreme contrasting conditions make it a difficult location for Earthlings to land, live and work, but the unique properties are promising.” “Unprecedented scientific discoveries in deep space can help us learn about the outer situation in the universe and venture further into the solar system,” Dr. Ritanjali Moharana, associate professor in the Department of Physics at IIT Jodhpur, told IANS.
“The first reason to go to the Moon is that it will help us go to other planets. The second reason is the abundance of some rare metals such as helium and lithium on the Moon which has attracted the interest of scientists all over the world. With the availability of resources around us,” added Dr. Subba Rao Pavuluri, Founder and Managing Director To Ananth Technologies (ATL) in India: “The world is getting smaller, and this could be a way to strengthen ourselves for the humanity of tomorrow.”
The company, which has been a long-standing partner of ISRO in launch vehicles and satellites, contributed the launch vehicle (LVM3) for Chandrayaan-3.
Moharana explained that at the lunar south pole, the sun hovers just below or above the horizon, creating a temperature of more than 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius) during the sunlight period.
“Even during these periods of light, tall mountains cast dark shadows and deep craters shelter the perpetual darkness in their abysses. Some of these craters are home to permanently shadowed areas that haven’t seen daylight in a billion years and experience temperatures of -334 degrees Fahrenheit.” to -414°F (-203°C to 248°C).
“The expected discoveries are planetary processes and the nature and origin of lunar polar volatiles. They orbit our planet once every 27,322 days. The Moon is tidally locked with the Earth, which means that it rotates on its axis exactly once every time it does a synchronous rotation,” Moharana said.
Astrophysicist Professor Varun Palerao of IIT Bombay told IANS that the race to the moon is different now than the early days of space exploration.
During the initial phase of lunar missions in the 1960s and beyond, “the space race was hot and people were trying to prove a point”.
“Now I think it’s a little bit different as a scenario where getting into low Earth orbit has become very democratized. There are a lot of players from nation states as well as private players who can now actually launch into low Earth orbit and then it’s normal to launch into low Earth orbit and then it’s normal to launch,” Palerão said. “The next starting point for everyone will be to go to our nearest neighbor.”
“And I think from now on, we will see more and more of this happening. Countries will try to explore, understand and also use the Moon to improve their technologies for missions that go into outer space,” he added.
Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the WBSETCL team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.