India’s Chandrayaan-3 probe successfully achieved a soft landing on the south pole of the moon the day before yesterday, becoming the fourth country in the world to master moon landing technology after the United States, the Soviet Union and China.
India currently claims that it is already developing the Chandrayaan-4 probe. This time, India’s ISRO will cooperate with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and is scheduled to launch Chandrayaan-4 in 2026-2028.
The landing latitude of Chandrayaan-3 is relatively high, but it does not exceed 70° south latitude, and it is still a little short of 86° from the real position of the lunar pole. Scientifically speaking, it cannot be completely considered that the probe landed at the south pole of the moon, and there are certain differences.
Chandrayaan 4 will land within the range of the south pole of the moon. The goal of the probe is to “find evidence of whether there is water on the moon.” Previous research has shown the possibility of water sources at the south pole of the moon.
According to the plan, after the lunar ship 4 lands near the south pole of the moon, it will use a drilling rig developed by India to drill underground samples of the moon and heat them to analyze whether they contain volatiles, especially water ice resources. The lander will also verify moon night survival technology, with a design life of 6 months to support more complex lunar exploration missions in the future.
▲ Picture source Indian Chandrayaan-3 landing trajectory description map
In order to improve its space autonomy, India is demonstrating the “Chandrayaan-5” project, which may be launched around 2030. Its positioning and function are similar to that of Chandrayaan-4, and it is also planned to land on the south pole of the moon.
The Chandrayaan-3 probe that successfully landed on the moon now includes a propulsion module, a lander and a lunar rover. Chandrayaan-3 consists of the lander Vikram and the lunar rover (Pragyan), with a total weight of about 3.9 tons.
▲ Picture source Indian Chandrayaan 3 landing description map
It is India’s another lunar exploration mission after the “Lunar Ship 2” in 2019. It is reported that the budget of this mission is about 6.5 billion rupees (IT home note: currently about 573 million yuan). What’s even lower budget.