How engineers test Moon landers on Earth

The Chandrayaan 3 spacecraft is seen here mounted in an acoustic chamber to test its integrity against the intense sounds & vibrations of a rocket launch. Image: ISRO

Four out of the past eight Moon landing attempts have failed. Even as lunar ambitions skyrocket worldwide, having a robotic lander touchdown by itself remains a daunting undertaking. Until a spacecraft is aloft, engineers never really know if their testing regime was appropriate. In this feature piece for Nature, I explain the key tests and challenges engineers face in preparing a lander for Luna:

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