India’s Historic Lunar Landing: Chandrayaan-3 Touches Down Near the Moon’s South Pole

India's Historic Lunar Landing: Chandrayaan-3 Touches Down Near the Moon's South Pole
In a historic achievement, India’s Chandrayaan-3 successfully touched down near the southern pole of the moon, making a graceful landing on the lunar surface. This remarkable feat has secured India’s place in the annals of space exploration history, not only for its achievement on the moon but also for being the fourth country in the world to do so, in the vicinity of the moon’s south pole.

Just a month ago, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched Chandrayaan-3 with the ambitious goal of achieving a soft landing near the moon’s south pole. This mission marked a significant milestone in India’s space exploration endeavors. Notably, this landing wasn’t just on the moon; it was the first instance of any country successfully touching down in the vicinity of the moon’s south pole.

Chandrayaan-3, whose name translates to “Mooncraft” in Sanskrit, began its journey from the Sriharikota launchpad in South India in July. The spacecraft included an orbiter, a lander, and a rover, all designed to contribute to the field of lunar science and bolster India’s growing prowess in space technology.

During the descent of Chandrayaan-3, there was a moment of tension and concern, especially after the unfortunate incident with Russia’s Luna-25, which encountered difficulties before its planned landing. Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, reported that Luna-25 had an encounter with the moon’s surface before its intended landing.

Chandrayaan-3’s lander and rover modules are equipped with state-of-the-art instruments designed to provide invaluable data to the global scientific community. Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of Science and Technology, emphasized that this data will contribute significantly to our understanding of the moon’s geological and fundamental structures.

“This moment is unforgettable. It is truly unprecedented, a resounding victory for India,” expressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, from the South African Regional Council, witnessed this historic landing with immense pride as the Indian flag was unfurled.

The successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 in the uncharted territory near the moon’s south pole elevates India’s status as a formidable player in space exploration. Remarkably, this mission was accomplished at a budget of approximately 6.15 billion rupees (about $74 million), making it more cost-effective than the production cost of the 2013 Hollywood blockbuster “Gravity.”

In comparison to Chandrayaan, India faced adversity in its previous attempts to reach the lunar south pole in 2019, resulting in disappointment. While the mission achieved a successful entry into the moon’s orbit, the lander’s unfortunate crash during the final descent led to the rover’s deployment being unsuccessful. Subsequent investigations revealed software errors as contributing factors to the failure.

“Landing on the lunar south pole opens up possibilities for studying the presence of water ice in the moon’s polar regions, a significant contribution to lunar geology,” emphasized Carla Filotico, Partner and Managing Director of SpaceTech Partners.

Also Read: After the Russian setback, India’s Moon landing ambitions have grown: Chandrayaan-3’s daring quest

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