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The New Space Race Is On - And Everyone Is Headed To The Moon

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 08: The Waning Gibbous moon is seen amid hazy conditions due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires on June 08, 2023 in New York City. People in the city other areas are expected to have another day of bad air Thursday due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires. Air quality advisories continue to be in place for all five boroughs of the city of more than 8 million people. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The New Space Race Is On - And Everyone Is Headed To The Moon

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 08: The Waning Gibbous moon is seen amid hazy conditions due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires on June 08, 2023 in New York City. People in the city other areas are expected to have another day of bad air Thursday due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires. Air quality advisories continue to be in place for all five boroughs of the city of more than 8 million people. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The New Space Race Is On - And Everyone Is Headed To The Moon

The South Pole of the Moon is the coolest place to be. And nearly every country with a space program is vying for a spot there - for a chance to explore the shadowy, polar craters in hopes of finding usable quantities of water ice. On Wednesday, the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully landed its Chandrayaan-3 probe near the moon's south pole. It was the first time India had landed a spacecraft on the moon, and the first time any country had successfully landed at the coveted moon's south pole. Many have tried including, Japan, Israel, and most recently Russia, whose Luna-25 spacecraft crashed onto the surface just days before India's successful landing. NASA is preparing its ARTEMIS mission to return to the moon. Luxembourg and Saudi Arabia have also set their sites on moon missions. A new space race is underway. But why exactly are we racing to the moon again? NPR's Scott Detrow speaks to space lawyer Michelle Hanlon to find out. In participating regions, you'll also hear a local news segment to help you make sense of what's going on in your community. Email us at considerthis@npr.org.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 08: The Waning Gibbous moon is seen amid hazy conditions due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires on June 08, 2023 in New York City. People in the city other areas are expected to have another day of bad air Thursday due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires. Air quality advisories continue to be in place for all five boroughs of the city of more than 8 million people. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

 

The South Pole of the Moon is the coolest place to be.

And nearly every country with a space program is vying for a spot there - for a chance to explore the shadowy, polar craters in hopes of finding usable quantities of water ice.

On Wednesday, the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully landed its Chandrayaan-3 probe near the moon's south pole. It was the first time India had landed a spacecraft on the moon, and the first time any country had successfully landed at the coveted moon's south pole.

Many have tried including, Japan, Israel, and most recently Russia, whose Luna-25 spacecraft crashed onto the surface just days before India's successful landing.

NASA is preparing its ARTEMIS mission to return to the moon. Luxembourg and Saudi Arabia have also set their sites on moon missions.

A new space race is underway. But why exactly are we racing to the moon again?

NPR's Scott Detrow speaks to space lawyer Michelle Hanlon to find out.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment to help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

Email us at considerthis@npr.org.

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