The launch from the Vostochny cosmodrome, 3,450 miles (5,550 km) east of Moscow, will take place four weeks after India sent up its Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander, due to touch down at the pole on Aug. 23.

Rough terrain makes a landing there difficult, but the south pole is a prized destination because scientists believe it may hold significant quantities of ice that could be used to extract fuel and oxygen, as well as for drinking water.

Russian space agency Roscosmos said that its Luna-25 spacecraft would take five days to fly to the moon and then spend five to seven days in lunar orbit before descending on one of three possible landing sites near the pole – a timetable that implies it could match or narrowly beat its Indian rival to the moon’s surface.

Chandrayaan-3 is due to run experiments for two weeks, while Luna-25 will work on the moon for a year. In April, Japan’s ispace (9348.T) failed in an attempt to make the first moon landing by a private space company.

With a mass of 1.8 tons and carying 31 kg of scientific equipment, Luna-25 will use a scoop to take rock samples from a depth of up to 15 cm to test for the presence of frozen water that could support human life.

According to the Internet