Chandrayaan-3 is expected to make its soft landing on the lunar surface on August 23.
India launched its third moon mission, Chandrayaan-3, on July 14 while Russia's Luna-25 blasted off nearly a month later on August 11. Both spacecraft are now locked in a race to land on the South Pole of the moon. Chandrayaan-3 is expected to make its soft landing on the lunar surface on August 23. However, despite launching late, Russia's mission could achieve the feat sooner. Luna 25 is Russia's first moon mission in nearly 50 years.
According to Reuters, Roscosmos has outlined an ambitious timeline for Luna-25 following which it would take five days to reach the moon's orbit and then take another five to seven days before landing on the lunar surface. Luna 25 will reach the moon and enter orbit on August 16, and then attempt to land on the surface by August 21, the New York Times reported.
“Congratulations, Roscosmos on the successful launch of Luna-25. Wonderful to have another meeting point in our space journeys” tweeted India Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Designed to conduct experiments for a span of two weeks, Chandrayaan-3 pales in comparison to the one-year lunar engagement of Luna 25, which boasts a weight of 1.8 tonnes and carries 31 kg (68 pounds) of scientific instrumentation. While Chandrayaan-3 was blasted off with the e-Launch Vehicle Mark-III M4 rocket, Soyuz-2 Fregat booster was used to blast off Luna-25. Its goal is to observe the lunar polar regolith and the plasma and dust components of the lunar polar exosphere.
A lot also depends on the landing sites of Chandrayaan-3 and Luna-25. As per experts, navigating the challenging terrain of the moon's south pole won't be an easy task.