The last time Terrans touched down on the moon was in 2013, when China landed its Yutu rover there. India now plan to be the next in line to reach the lunar surface.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is preparing to land its very first lunar rover by the end of March 2018, as part of its Chandrayaan-2 (‘moon vehicle’ or ‘moon journey’) mission. ISRO had previously launched its Chandrayaan-1 probe back in 2008, which made it into lunar orbit and detected “magmatic water” in one of the moon’s craters.
But the probe crashed into the moon a month later, and the orbiter got lost up until 2016 when NASA managed to relocate it.
ISRO also launched its first space probe into Mars’ orbit back in 2014, making it the second country in Asia to do so.
Chandrayaan-2 will be ISRO’s first attempt at actually landing a rover on the moon to explore its surface.
With a budget of $93 million, the mission will include three crewless vehicles, and should take 14 Earth days to complete:
They’re also working on a project called “Aditya” that will study the sun, and a 5-year satellite, called “XPoSat” that they will use to learn about cosmic radiation. India’s mission will hopefully provide us with further insight into the nature of the moon, and pave the way for future explorations into space.