Liftoff. India launched an unmanned rocket to the moon on Monday, a week after a last-minute technical glitch forced scientists there to abort the mission. If all goes well, this mission will be the first to land on the lunar south pole, reports the BBC. India will send down a rover to explore the surface and investigate water deposits that a 2008 orbital mission by India confirmed. The way this mission is set up, the spacecraft is expected to reach the moon on Sept. 6, reports CNET.
India is now poised to become the fourth nation to pull off a soft landing on the moon, behind the US, the USSR, and China. "It is the beginning of a historical journey of India towards the moon," says the head of the Indian Space Research Organization after the launch. The Indian mission is led by two women—project director Muthaya Vanitha and mission chief Ritu Karidhal. (The mission comes near the 50th anniversary of Neal Armstrong's famous steps.)