Russian scientists hope to make history by performing the first soft landing on the lunar south pole, which is believed to have pockets of water ice.
The scientists disclosed that the scientific equipment onboard the unmanned Russian spacecraft Luna-25 has been turned on, and the initial data is now being processed.
“Luna-25 continues its flight to the Earth’s natural satellite – all systems of the automatic station are working properly, communication with it is stable, the energy balance is positive” Space agency Roscosmos, said in a statement on Sunday.
Moscow launched the mission on Friday, its first moon landing craft in 47 years. India launched Chandrayaan-3, its lunar lander, into space last month.
A Soyuz rocket carrying the small car-sized Luna-25 launched from the Vostochny cosmodrome in the far eastern Amur area, more than 3,000 miles east of Moscow.
On August 21, it’s projected to land on the moon.
Its goal is to gather rock and dust samples to learn more about the surrounding area for a prospective base.
The lander will stay on the south pole for a year, where researchers from NASA and other space agencies have recently found signs of water ice in the area’s shadowed craters.
Neil Armstrong, a US astronaut, gained notoriety in 1969 for becoming the first person to set foot on the moon.
However, the first spacecraft to reach the planet’s surface was the Soviet Union’s Luna-2 mission in 1959, and the first to perform a soft landing there was the Luna-9 mission in 1966.
Russia’s first lunar mission since 1976, when it was a part of the USSR, will take place on Friday.