By Tania TawarykThe story of India’s Moon Village tunnel has been well documented and has been one of the highlights of the Indian space programme.
However, a report published by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2016 claimed that the tunnel is not even fully functional.
In April, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the project is on track to be completed by 2021, but this is the first time that an actual tunnel has emerged.
“We have launched the first test tunnel,” Mr Modi said, adding that the test tunnel will take a week to fully open.
“When it opens, we will be able to conduct tests at the height of 1.5 kilometres in the Moon Village,” Mr Khan said.
The moon village is an area of lunar soil which lies in a valley on the lunar surface.
The tunnel, which was officially named ‘Lunar Village Tunnel’, is located at the northern tip of the moon, about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) east of the village.
It was launched on December 5, 2001, and will be operational for a period of four years.
It will be used for two purposes, according to the ISRO.
“Firstly, it will be a test tunnel for our lunar spacecraft,” Mr Jaitley said.
“Secondly, it is used to conduct the first manned mission of our spacecraft in 2021.”
In October 2017, the ISRAO revealed that the tunnels will contain about 20,000 tonnes of soil, of which about 5,000 tons are mined.
The tunnels are being built on the south side of the Moon, with the tunnel leading into the lunar south pole.
The tunnels are equipped with a water-tight lid and a metal mesh to prevent dust and debris from entering the tunnel.
“Once the tunnels are completed, the entire underground network will be constructed as a ‘carpet’ in the shape of a tree,” Mr Singh said.