India is looking to take a giant leap in its space programme to find a place among the world's spacefaring nations with its second unmanned mission to the moon, this one aimed at landing a rover near the unexplored south pole.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to launch a spacecraft using home-grown technology and it is scheduled to touch down on the moon in September.
The $141 million Chandrayaan-2 mission will analyse minerals, map the moon's surface, and search for water. It will "boldly go where no country has ever gone before," an ISRO official said in a statement.
The country's ambitions are playing out amid a resurgent space race. India's first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, whose name is Sanskrit for "moon craft," orbited the moon in 2008 and helped confirm the presence of water.
The US, which is marking the 50th anniversary this month of the Apollo 11 mission that made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin the first humans on the moon, is working to send a manned spacecraft to the lunar south pole by 2024.
In April, an unmanned Israeli craft crashed into the moon in a failed attempt at the first privately funded lunar landing.