India has successfully landed near the moon’s unknown South Pole in a historic and unprecedented feat.
The country’s Chandrayaan-3 lander completed a “soft landing” on the lunar surface. It will now spend two weeks studying the moon’s composition near its south pole — although it is
It is the first space agency to manage to land near the region after the Russian space agency made an attempt on Monday – and failed. This Luna 25 spacecraft crashed to the lunar surface and was destroyed.
:: Consequences The IndependentHere is the live coverage of the launch.
India’s space agency Isro successfully completed the mission just days later, becoming only the fourth country to land a probe softly on the moon, after a series of competitor failures and a crash in India’s attempt to land in 2019. Only the US , the former Soviet Union and China landed there.
“India is now on the moon,” said Narendra Modi, who reached out to Isro staff immediately after the announcement of the successful landing. “On this joyful occasion, I would like to address all the people of the world, to the people of all countries and regions: India’s successful moon mission is not just India’s only one.”
Modi said the work will be done in a “people-centric spirit” and called for cooperation between nations to explore the “moon and beyond.” “This achievement belongs to all of humanity and will support other countries’ lunar missions in the future,” he said.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said in a statement: “India’s pursuit of space exploration reaches a remarkable milestone with the forthcoming Chandrayaan-3 mission, poised for a soft landing on the lunar surface.”
“This achievement represents a significant advance for Indian science, engineering, technology and industry and symbolizes our country’s progress in space exploration.”
The South Pole of the Moon is expected to become an important and contested region in the years to come. Research has shown that water ice is waiting there – which could be important for people to be able to live on the lunar surface.
If the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s Pragyan rover manages to find water ice on the lunar surface, it could start using it as a resource to extract fuel and oxygen from the moon.
Further discovery and estimation of water ice on the lunar surface could raise hopes of a longer-term human presence on the moon and facilitate future missions to explore other planets in the solar system.
Chandrayaan-3 has made a long journey to the moon so far, and was launched on July 14 aboard the LVM3 rocket from India’s main spaceport, Sriharikota, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
“July 14, 2023 will always be in gold letters in India’s space sector… This remarkable mission will carry the hopes and dreams of our nation,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted ahead of the launch.
The mission is set to conduct science experiments on the lunar surface, at a cost of about £63 million ($82 million).
Instruments on board the lander include a probe to measure thermal properties of the lunar surface, called Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE), and a probe called ILSA to measure lunar seismic activity.
Aside from conducting wide-ranging studies and analyzing the moon’s gas and plasma environment, the mission is also expected to bring more investment to the growing number of startups and institutes in the space sector in India.
The head of Russia’s space agency Yuri Borisov said in an interview earlier this week that lunar missions are “not only about the prestige of the country” but also about “practical value”, adding that “the race to develop the natural… Resources of the Moon has begun.”
“In the future, the moon will become a platform for space exploration, an ideal platform,” he said.
Nasa Administrator Bill Nelson also said earlier this year that the US was engaged in a new space race, hinting at the country’s technological competition with China.
“The fact is, we’re in a space race,” Nelson told Politico.