Former NASA astronaut Donald Thomas making a statement about Chandrayaan-2 landing, said that the whole world along with national space agency NASA is watching. He said at an event at Park College of Engineering and Technology near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. He further stated that Chandrayaan-2 will be the first spacecraft to land near the South pole of the moon and this is where NASA hopes to land astronaut in about next five years as they hope to find ice and presence of minerals on the lunar surface during the Chandrayaan-2 mission. He also went on to add that a lot of discoveries can be expected from this mission helping the lunar missions of the future.
Thomas while speaking to ANI said, "we have landed near the equator of the moon before but never at the South Pole. The South pole is a very special location, we think there is ice in some of the craters that are permanently shadowed. If we find ice there then we can have water and from that Oxygen and Hydrogen". On being queried about the conditions on the moon, the former NASA astronaut said, "The moon is a tough place to live. There is a lot of radiation out there. At day-time, the temperature could reach 100 degrees Celsius and during night-time, it could go down to minus 100 degrees Celsius."
Chandrayaan-2, India’s most ambitious lunar mission is scheduled to make a soft landing on the south pole of the moon on September 7, 2019. It will be the first Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface and the first one in the world to land on the lunar south pole. This mission will make India, the fourth country after the US, Russia, and China to carry out a soft landing on the moon. The spacecraft took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on July 22 and after revolving around the earth's orbit for nearly 23 days, it commenced the much-anticipated journey to the moon on August 14.
Divulging details on the future missions of NASA, Thomas said that American Space Agency is working on a mission called the Space Launch System which will be tested in a year from now. In three years, the astronauts will be orbiting the moon and would land after five years. He also described how NASA is working on a mission to Mars, adding that travel to Mars is an extremely expensive affair and would require more than one country’s effort and a year to make the landing. He expected the travel to mars in the next 20 years.
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has missions in the pipeline such as the 2019-2020 Aditya L1 mission to study the Sun’s corona and its atmosphere. 2020-2021 Gaganyaan mission to send Indian astronauts to space. 2022-2023 Mangalyaan-2 to study the Mars closely. Sukhrayaan - A mission to Venus by 2023-2025 and an EXPOSat mission and Indian Space Station by 2023.
(With inputs from ANI)