Chandrayaan-3
Chandrayaan-3

India achieves historic milestone: First Country to successfully land at Moon’s south pole

What To Know

  • The Vikram lander of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft has successfully made a controlled landing on the surface of the Moon, signifying India’s inaugural achievement of a triumphant lunar landing.
  • This accomplishment holds special significance as it places India in a group of only four countries – the Soviet Union, the US, China, and now India – to achieve this feat.
  • This is a noteworthy achievement due to the challenging and rugged terrain in this region, which is crucial for endeavors to locate water ice.
  • ISRO carefully timed the landing to coincide with the commencement of a lunar day (approximately 28 Earth days), enabling the Vikram lander and Pragyaan rover to harness the maximum available solar power.

India has achieved a remarkable feat in space travel, marking a significant milestone in multiple ways. The Vikram lander of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft has successfully made a controlled landing on the surface of the Moon, signifying India’s inaugural achievement of a triumphant lunar landing.

This accomplishment holds special significance as it places India in a group of only four countries – the Soviet Union, the US, China, and now India – to achieve this feat.

What’s even more noteworthy is that India has become the first nation to successfully land a spacecraft near the Moon’s southern pole. This is a noteworthy achievement due to the challenging and rugged terrain in this region, which is crucial for endeavors to locate water ice.

Most previous lunar landings have occurred closer to the equator, making India’s achievement near the southern pole an exceptional endeavor.

This successful landing comes after a gap of four years since the Vikram lander of Chandrayaan-2 faced an unsuccessful landing attempt. In response, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) meticulously designed Chandrayaan-3 with a “failure-based design” approach. This strategy involved incorporating more backup systems, selecting a broader landing area, and implementing software updates to ensure a higher likelihood of success.

Following its landing, the Vikram lander will remain stationary for several hours to allow the lunar dust to settle. Once the area is deemed clear, the Pragyaan rover will be deployed to capture photographs and gather scientific data.

Together, the lander and rover are equipped with five instruments dedicated to assessing various aspects of the Moon’s atmosphere, surface, and tectonic activity.

ISRO carefully timed the landing to coincide with the commencement of a lunar day (approximately 28 Earth days), enabling the Vikram lander and Pragyaan rover to harness the maximum available solar power.

The success of Chandrayaan-3 is a source of immense national pride for India. The country has been eager to establish itself as a significant player in space exploration and aims to launch a space station by around 2030. With this achievement, India joins the elite ranks of countries that have achieved a successful landing on an extraterrestrial surface.

The data collected from the vicinity of the southern pole holds valuable insights for future lunar missions not only from India but also from other nations. This information could be pivotal for potential utilization of discovered ice as fuel, oxygen, and water.

Furthermore, India’s successful lunar landing places it ahead in the global race to explore the Moon, although not always being the first to do so. Just a couple of days prior, Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft experienced a crash, while Israel has plans for a follow-up to its Beresheet lander in 2024.

The United Arab Emirates also aspires to achieve a lunar landing by 2024. Meanwhile, the US is working toward sending humans back to the Moon with the Artemis 3 mission, targeted for late 2025. These endeavors are only a part of the broader picture that includes commercial ventures.

There is a renewed enthusiasm for studying our closest celestial neighbor, and India is now an integral part of this pioneering movement.

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