CHENNAI: It was in 1950s when mission to the moon caught the fancy of several countries. But in sometime they were abandoned. In fact, the moon itself became an abandoned planet, said M. Annadurai, former Director, U.R. Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Lately, the moon is back into trend again. And this could be credited to India's first moon mission Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 which found water molecules on the moon, Annadurai, who was the key man behind that mission, told IANS. The former Soviet Union (now Russia) and the US had undertaken several moon missions since 1958.
However, it was the Soviet mission in September 1959 that succeeded first when its lunar impactor carried by its rocket Luna landed on the moon's surface. The next month Russia followed it by a flyby mission.
After that, there were several failed attempts made by Russia and the US to land on the moon.
In July 1964, the US achieved success with its impactor landed on the moon surface. The spacecraft Ranger-7 was carried by its rocket Atlas LV-3 Agena B.
In 1966, Russia's Luna-9 became the first spacecraft to land on the moon. The same year, the US made a successful landing with its lander on the moon. The first crewed mission to the moon was by the US in December 1968. The spacecraft Apollo-8 orbited the moon and returned back to Earth.
The first human moon landing mission was launched by the US on July 16, 1969 with Neil Armstrong becoming the first man to step on the moon on July 21, 1969. Later, Japan sent up its lunar mission in 1990, followed by the European Space Agency in 2003.
Asian giant China started its moon mission in 2007 with its orbiter. The country landed its rover on the moon in 2013. Earlier this year, China landed its spacecraft on the far side of the moon.
On its part, India began its moon mission on October 22, 2008 with its spacecraft Chandrayaan-1. The country also landed its Moon Impact Probe on November 14, 2008, thereby becoming the fourth country to have a touch down on the moon surface.
The most notable finding of the mission was the presence of water molecules on moon which in turn has revived the interest on moon missions.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)