ISRO has achieved a historic milestone by successfully landing its Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft near the moon's south pole, becoming the fourth entity to accomplish a lunar landing.
The touchdown occurred on August 23 at 8:33 am ET, marking a significant achievement for India's space program.
A Triumph for India's Space Exploration
The Chandrayaan-3 mission represents India's second attempt to land near the moon's south pole, a region of immense scientific interest due to its potential water ice deposits. The country's first attempt in September 2019 failed due to a software glitch, but after extensive design and software upgrades, Chandrayaan-3 successfully touched down.
|A live image from the moon by Chandrayaan-3 and a plot of its position during landing. (Image credit: ISRO)
The spacecraft was launched on July 14 atop an LVM3 rocket and entered an elliptical orbit around the moon before shifting into a nearly circular path. The Vikram lander, carrying the Pragyan rover, separated from the mission's propulsion module and successfully braked to approach the lunar surface.
Exploration and Analysis
Soon, the solar-powered rover Pragyan is expected to roll off Chandrayaan-3's Vikram lander and spend one lunar day (about 14 Earth days) exploring and collecting scientific data about the moon's makeup. The lander Vikram is also equipped to sense moonquakes and probe lunar soil temperature.
The south polar region's potential water ice deposits could be mined for rocket fuel and life support for future crewed missions, making this exploration vital for space exploration's future.
A Game Changer for India and the World
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated the success, stating, "This success belongs to all of humanity, and it will help moon missions by other countries in the future." The mission's success is seen as a game-changer for India's space program and an inspiration for the youth.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission's success also holds strategic and geopolitical significance for India, positioning the country as a key player in the global space community.
A Symbol of Resilience and Innovation
India's success in landing on the moon's south pole is a testament to the country's resilience, innovation, and determination. The mission's success, following the failure of Chandrayaan-2, showcases India's ability to learn, adapt, and achieve remarkable feats in space exploration.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission, costing a modest $73 million, unfolds at a time when multiple nations are eyeing the moon for future crewed missions. It sets a precedent and opens doors for collaboration and further exploration of our celestial neighbor.