Year 2023 seems to be the year of the Moon as a number of lunar missions are scheduled to take place this year.
While India’s Chandrayaan-3 met with success when its lander module safely touched down on the lunar surface and was followed by the rover’s rollout on Thursday, Luna 25 suffered a glitch and crashed on the moon’s surface on August 19.
Apart from these two missions, there are four more lined up for this year.
They include the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) and Lunar Trailblazer from the U.S..
NASA’s CLPS initiative, according to the U.S. space agency, allows rapid acquisition of lunar delivery services from American companies for payloads that advance capabilities for science, exploration or commercial development of the Moon. The Lunar Trailblazer on the other hand is an Orbiter.
The other moon missions include China’s lunar communication and navigation satellite constellation and Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) which is an Orbiter/lander mission.
This year also saw another failure as Japan’s Hakuto-R lander failed to make a moon landing in April. Had the Hakuto-R mission completed its task, it would have been the world’s first commercial soft landing on the lunar surface.
According to ISRO as of July 2023, there are six active lunar orbiters and currently, the only operating rover is China’s Yutu-2 rover released by Chang’e 4, which operates on the far side.
Next year, Beresheet 2 from Israel, U.S.’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER), China’s Lunar Exploration Programme (CLEP) Chang’e 6 and Hakuto-II are expected to be launched.