India Targets South Pole (of the Moon)

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After a four-week journey from earth, the Indian Space Research Organization announced its Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft successfully entered lunar orbit. Next up in about a week is a landing attempt, then a rover deployment. The chosen landing location is the moon’s South Pole region. The orbiter is expected to operate for about a year and the lander and rover will perform surface studies. The rover is about 60 pounds and solar powered. The lander and rover are expected to last at least one lunar day (two weeks) but as lunar night comes flight controllers will try to awaken the rover and lander after the two-week sleep. India hopes to complete its first crewed mission by 2022.

The Big Dipper is visible in the northwest just after dark and the main summer constellations Cygnus, Lyra, and Altair are overhead by 9:00pm. Catch three seasons of constellations in one overnight: Summer Triangle overhead at 9:30pm, Pegasus and Andromeda (w/ M31) in the east at 10:30pm, and Orion in the east at 5:00am-5:30am. The moon is next to Jupiter on the evening of the 5th and slides towards Saturn the next night.

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