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Will India's Chandrayaan-2 mission to the moon blast off before 2018 is out?

The lunar South Pole is a desolate place--empty, astonishingly cold, hidden from view. But there's something special about the region. Scientists believe substantial reservoirs of frozen liquid water hide in the permanent shadows. Perhaps, this water could sustain a future human moon base.

To explore this and other urgent hypotheses about Earth's nearest neighbor, India is set to launch the Chandrayaan-2 space mission this year. reports:

the new [Chandrayaan] mission will consist of an orbiter, a lander and a rover. The orbiter will perform mapping from an altitude of 100 kilometers (62 miles), while the lander will make a soft landing on the surface and send out the rover.

India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has more details about the mission:

The mission will carry a six-wheeled Rover which will move around the landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands... The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.

Launch is scheduled for late October. It was initially set to sail to the stars in April, but command grounded it for an additional six months. ISRO's Dr. Arun Sinha cryptically remarked: "Being a very complex mission with a lander, rover, and an orbiter, more critical tests are planned,”

Will Chandrayaan-2 successfully blast off before 2018 is out?

Resolution is positive if the rocket lifts off and clears 100 km; success of the mission as a whole is not required.


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