• Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

As the global race for the moon heats up, India is eyeing lunar natural resources

As the global race for the moon heats up, India is eyeing lunar natural resources

In 1969, a defining moment in human history occurred when American astronaut Neil Armstrong took historic steps on the moon, becoming the first person to do so. This remarkable achievement not only opened the door to the possibility of other countries exploring the Moon, but also ignited a global “Race to the Moon”.

Later, many countries tried to land on the moon, some of which succeeded and some failed.

According to Statista, the long-term goal of nations is to create a permanent base on the Moon, with its natural resources such as water and oxygen (extracted from rocks), precious metals, rocks, rare earths, and helium-3 (creating fuel suitable for fusion power generation).

The race to the moon is on again as many countries and even private companies have announced lunar missions.

Last week, India’s ‘Baahubali’ rocket successfully launched the lunar probe – Chandrayaan-3 – in copybook style.

Nicknamed ‘Baahubali’, the country’s heavy rocket LVM-3 carried the 3.8-tonne Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, lifting the moon-bound craft into its Earth orbit just like the hero of the film of the same name lifts a heavy phallus.

In August last year, South Korea launched its first lunar mission. The mission, known as Danuri, is called the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO). The mission was managed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). Danuri’s mission was to test South Korea’s lunar spacecraft technology.

US space agency NASA plans to launch its next lunar mission in 2024 – called Artemis II, which will send astronauts orbiting the moon.

The US space agency plans to launch the Artemis III mission in 2025 or 2026, bringing the first woman and person of color to the moon.

It was the first man to set foot on the moon since the Apollo missions ended in 1972. NASA has stated that the mission will be carried out using Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship.

Musk has previously expressed his intention to create a base on the moon and a city on Mars.

“To really wake up the public, I think we have a base on the moon,” Musk said at the 2017 International Space Station Research and Development (ISSR&D) conference in the US.

Moreover, Russia’s long-awaited and long-delayed robotic rendezvous for lunar exploration, Luna-25, is at its launch site.

According to the Russian state news agency TASS, the mission will begin on August 11.

China also plans to establish a joint base on the moon with Russia by 2035, but no timeline has been drawn up for the project.

China previously successfully landed Chang’e 3 in 2013, Chang’e 4 in January 2019 and Chang’e 5 in 2020.

India is likely to collaborate with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on a new lunar mission. As part of this mission, astronauts will send a lunar rover and a lander to explore the moon’s south pole.

Between July 21, 1969 and December 14, 1972, 12 US astronauts walked on the moon.

(Shrey Srivastava can be contacted at shrey.s@ians.in)


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