India Triumphs in Space Exploration: Chandrayaan-3 Achieves Historic Soft Landing on Moon’s South Pole Region
India has etched its name in the annals of space exploration, as Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander successfully executed a historic soft landing in the Moon’s enigmatic south pole region. This triumphant feat elevates India into an exclusive league of nations, previously graced only by the US, the former Soviet Union, and China.
At 18:04 local time (12:34 GMT), the Vikram lander gently touched the lunar surface, and the nation erupted in jubilant celebration. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, watching the event unfold live from South Africa, proudly declared, “India is now on the Moon.”
He further expressed his elation, saying, “We have reached where no other country could. It’s a joyous occasion.” His sentiment was echoed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, who attributed the success to a generation of ISRO scientists.
This remarkable achievement stands in stark contrast to Russia’s recent failed mission, where Luna-25 spacecraft spiraled out of control and crashed into the Moon. The incident has underscored the complexity and risk involved in landing in the south pole region, a terrain marked by its uneven surface, abundant craters, and menacing boulders.
India’s previous attempt to explore this region, Chandrayaan-2, ended in disappointment in 2019 when the lander and rover were destroyed, though the orbiter remained intact.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission has been closely watched, with Wednesday’s descent of the lander Vikram—named after ISRO founder Vikram Sarabhai—creating palpable tension. Inside the lander, the 26kg rover Pragyaan (a Sanskrit word signifying wisdom) was securely housed.
The lander’s meticulous descent saw its speed reduced from 1.68 km per second to a near halt, ensuring a gentle touchdown. The world now waits with bated breath for the six-wheeled rover to emerge from the lander and begin its exploration of the Moon’s surface. Once the dust settles, Pragyaan will commence its mission, collecting invaluable data and imagery.
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