Asia Science & Tech

India lands on the moon: First in moon’s south pole

India on the moon Chandrayaan-3

India is now the fourth country to make a lunar landing just behind the United States, Russia and China. The landmark event occurred Wednesday, 23August at 8:33 am ET, when the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft touched down near the moon’s south pole, as reported by the Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO).

“This success belongs to all of humanity and it will help moon missions by other countries in the future,” India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a speech following the landing. “I’m confident that all countries in the world, including those from the global south, are capable of achieving such feats. We can all aspire to the moon and beyond.”

The first images of the moon surface as seen by Chandrayaan-3, were posted on the social media platform X(formerly Twitter), they showed it’s view as it descended.

images sent by Chandrayaan-3 show the craters on the moonsurface getting larger and larger as the spacecraft gets closer Courtesy ISRO
images sent by Chandrayaan-3 show the craters on the moonsurface getting larger and larger as the spacecraft gets closer Courtesy ISRO

The Chandrayaan-3 which was in the works for close to 4 years was launched ontop a LVM3 rocket on July 14 from a spaceport in Sriharikota, on India’s east coast. The spacecraft entered an elliptical orbit around the moon earlier this month, then performed multiple maneuvers to shift into a nearly circular path, which took it about 93 miles (150 kilometers) above the lunar surface.

The solar powered rover Pragyan that came with it will soon be out of the lander to start off the exploration. They are expected to spend a lunar day(or 14 earth days) exploring and collecting data by analyzing lunar soil and rocks.

It will be recalled that this trip with Chandrayaan-3 was India’s second attempt at moon landing,  as India’s first lunar landing attempt failed when the Chandrayaan-2 lander crashed in September 2019, due to a software glitch.

The landing here was on the south pole of the moon as the area is of great interest to scientists, having been predicted to have enough water and ice which would contribute greatly to future crewed missions to the moon.

The lander landed close to the location where Russia’s craft Luna-25 was hoped to land August 21, this did not happen as the probe crashed into the moon after a final orbit maneuver failed.

Moon-landings
Image credit: Reuters

Like the first rover sent on the earlier mission with Chandrayaan-2, Pragyan’s wheels are imprinted with the Ashoka Chakra, a religious symbol of a wheel with 24 spokes depicted on the Indian flag, and ISRO’s logo so that as it moves on the moon, the symbols will be stamped onto the surface.

The cost of the Chandrayaan-3 mission is said to be about $73 million US at current exchange rates.

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