India marked a momentous achievement in its space exploration journey as the Chandrayaan-3 mission successfully touched down near the Moon’s south pole on August 23, 2023. This historic event not only underscores India’s growing prowess in space technology but also places it in an exclusive club of nations that have achieved lunar landings. The achievement comes nearly four years after a previous attempt ended in disappointment.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission, a follow-up to its predecessor Chandrayaan-2, achieved a soft landing on the lunar surface at 6:04 local time. The event was met with jubilation among the team of space scientists in Bengaluru, the city where India’s space agency, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), is headquartered.
This successful landing at the uncharted south pole region of the Moon makes India the fourth country in the world to achieve a lunar landing, joining the ranks of the United States, China, and the erstwhile Soviet Union. This accomplishment is particularly significant as it marks India as the first nation to land on this little-explored region of Earth’s only natural satellite.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission consisted of a Lander Module (LM), named Vikram, and a 26 kg rover named Pragyan. The LM and rover combination executed a soft landing near the Moon’s south polar region. This endeavor demonstrated India’s capability to safely land on the lunar surface and carry out rover operations.
This achievement is especially noteworthy because it follows a setback during the Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019 when the lander Vikram crashed due to anomalies in its braking system during the final moments of descent. Despite this setback, India’s determination and continued investment in its space program have paid off.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission showcased India’s technological prowess. The LM, equipped with four legs, featured a suite of sensors to ensure a safe touchdown. These sensors included an accelerometer, altimeters, Doppler velocimeter, inclinometer, touchdown sensor, and a series of cameras for hazard avoidance and positional knowledge.
The rover Pragyan, weighing 26 kg, is designed to operate for one lunar daylight period, which lasts approximately 14 Earth days. During this time, it will conduct various experiments and collect data from the lunar surface.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his congratulations to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for their remarkable achievement in successfully landing Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon’s surface. During his speech, Prime Minister Modi expressed that this event marked the beginning of a new era. He also conveyed his appreciation to the dedicated team of scientists at ISRO whose efforts were instrumental in the mission’s success.
India’s success in landing near the Moon’s south pole opens up exciting possibilities. Scientists believe that this region could hold vital reserves of frozen water and precious elements, which could be of great significance for future lunar exploration and even human colonization efforts.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission’s triumph reaffirms India’s commitment to space exploration and its dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is possible. As India continues to make strides in space technology, the nation is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of lunar exploration and beyond.