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Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission: Why the interest in moon?

Chandrayaan-2, India's second mission to the Moon, is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission. Photograph:( PTI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 13, 2019, 03.38 PM (IST) Edited By: Riya Gupta

India's ambitious Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission to the moon is all set for launch on July 15 at 2:51am.

This will be India's first attempt to land on the moon and the rover will go to the moon's south pole where no country has gone before.

The moon is the hottest destination in our solar system. Humans have not walked on the moon since 1972 but countries and private organisations are racing towards the lunar body.

Jeff Bezos's company Blue Origin is planning a trip to the south pole as well. Till now only three countries have landed on the moon i.e. the Soviet Union, the United States and China.

An Israeli organisation made an attempt in April 2019, but their rocket failed at the last moment.

The moon holds the key to a human colony in space. In 2018--NASA images showed what appears to be water and ice on the surface of the moon's polar regions.

Scientists estimated that there could be anywhere between 10,000-1 million tonnes of ice. So if water can be extracted instead of being transported from earth it could save lots of rocket fuel.

Elements that makeup water, hydrogen and oxygen also make up rocket fuel.

And fuel accounts for around 90 per cent of the weight of a rocket. Every kilogram of weight brought from earth to the moon costs roughly around $35,000.

Given the enormous benefits of water ice, what was once considered as science fiction can soon be a reality. Lunar colonies and moon bases teeming with humans can be easily facilitated.

And if the moon can sustain lunar colonies and produce rocket fuel, then the stage is set for trips further out into the solar system. Travelling off to mars and beyond will not only be more convenient but cheaper as well.

India's mission is the world's first attempt to land at the polar region and see how abundant the ice is. Confirming ice on the celestial body could be a huge milestone in human history.

The nation that gets to the lunar caps first will get an upper hand in accessing the resources of the moon.