Jul 12, 2019

India: The next country on the moon

Photo: Indian Space Research Organization via AP

On Monday, India will attempt to put its first probe on the Moon, the AP notes.

The backdrop: "India’s first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, whose name is Sanskrit for 'moon craft,' orbited the moon in 2008 and helped confirm the presence of water. In 2013-14, India put a satellite into orbit around Mars in the nation’s first interplanetary mission."

  • "The spacecraft will have a lunar orbiter, lander and a rover. The lander will carry a camera, a seismometer, a thermal instrument and a NASA-supplied laser retroreflector that will help calculate the distance between the Earth and the moon."

Why it matters: If India manages to land on the moon, they'll join a very exclusive club that includes the U.S., Russia (Soviet Union) and China, Axios' Miriam Kramer emails.

Between the lines: Folks who are framing this as a "race" are missing the bigger point that space is becoming more accessible for many different nations, not just huge ones with lots of money, Miriam tells me.

What's next: NASA is planning to aim for the Moon's south pole for its Artemis mission in 2024.

Go deeper: What we don't know about the Moon

Go deeper

All the Moon landings, from Luna to Apollo to Chang'e

Data: Axios research; Graphic: Harry Stevens/Axios

Humans have successfully landed 20 crewed and uncrewed missions on the Moon’s surface, with more to come.

The big picture: More and more nations are shooting for the Moon, with India aiming to send a lander and rover there next week.

Go deeperArrowJul 20, 2019

We don’t know how much water is on the Moon

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Public and private space enterprises are aiming to extract water from the Moon, which they hope to turn into rocket fuel to fly missions farther into our solar system. However, it's not yet clear how much water is available on or below the lunar surface.

Why it matters: If NASA and others can extract water from the Moon, it would change exploration as we know it.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jul 20, 2019

Deep Dive: Factory Moon

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Moon, long an object of fascination and exploration, is now also seen as a place to make money.

The big picture: 50 years ago during the Apollo 11 mission, humans were drawn to our nearest cosmic neighbor by scientific curiosity and the desire to demonstrate technological prowess and geopolitical power. But now there’s a financial incentive for the entrepreneurially minded.

Go deeperArrowJul 20, 2019 - Science