India Plans Its Second Mission to the Moon

India announced that it will send a rover to the south pole of the moon, a territory previously unexplored by any spacecraft. The mission will be called Chandrayaan-2, Sanskrit for “moon vehicle.” If India succeeds, they will be the fourth country—behind the United States, Russia and China—to put a rover on the moon. After the launch, which is planned for mid-July, the satellite will travel for weeks before attempting to land a soft landing sometime in early September.

Dr. K. Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research organization, said that “the fifteen minutes before the landing will be the most terrifying moments for us.” Earlier this year, an Israeli spacecraft named Beresheet failed the landing and crashed into the moon. The mission is part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to establish India as an international competitor in space exploration.