HomePoliticsIndia's Chandrayaan-3 Achieves Successful Lunar Landing: Making Historic Strides in Soft Landing...

India’s Chandrayaan-3 Achieves Successful Lunar Landing: Making Historic Strides in Soft Landing Technology

On Wednesday, August 23, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) intriguingly announced the successful moon landing of Chandrayaan-3. “India, I reached my destination and you too!” posted ISRO on X (previously Twitter).

After a 41-day journey, the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft landed on the Moon’s surface on Wednesday, realising the dream of 140 crore Indians. The most ambitious project the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has undertaken so far is Chandrayaan-3.

With this landing, India made history and became the fourth country to perfect the technology of soft lunar landing, following the United States, China, and the former Soviet Union (now Russia).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the people and declared, “India is the first country in the world to reach the lunar south pole.”

In September 2019, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugged and patted K Sivan, the former head of the Indian Space Research Organisation, as the scientist struggled to hold back his tears. This emotional moment occurred after the space agency lost contact with Chandrayaan 2 lander “Vikram” at the beginning of its descent to the Moon.

The Prime Minister was also emotional.

However, despite the cries and the eerie silence in the ISRO control room, perhaps the determination to struggle back and rise once more was sustaining life.

The most recent pictures sent back by the lander gave optimism to K. Sivan, the former head of the Indian space programme, and gave him hope for a successful conclusion of the mission’s last leg.

“It is giving some encouragement that we will be able to achieve the landing mission without any problem,” he said, according to AFP.

The Moon mission’s journey, which began almost six weeks ago to the cheers of thousands of spectators, stands in stark contrast to the Apollo missions’ fast transits in the 1960s and 1970s, which reached their destination in a matter of days.

India’s technique entailed many orbits around Earth to collect speed before starting its month-long course towards the Moon, using rockets that were substantially less powerful than those used by the United States at the time.

The Chandrayaan-3 lander faced a critical moment in its quest to conduct a soft lunar landing on August 23 during a crucial technical manoeuvre. The lander was changing from a high-speed horizontal position to a vertical one during the last 15 minutes of its descent onto the surface of the Moon.

The outcome of the mission depended heavily on the effectiveness of this manoeuvre. Former ISRO director Sivan has called this stage “15 minutes of terror.”

The goal of Chandrayaan-3 is to set up a rover on the Moon and investigate the lunar south pole following its successful landing. As it rolls across the lunar regolith (soil), the rover will leave an imprint of the Indian flag and ISRO emblem. It also has instruments set up with payloads that can deliver information on the Moon’s surface.

The lander will receive data from the rover, which will collect information on the Moon’s atmosphere’s elemental makeup. The Lander will then monitor the density of near-surface plasma (ions and electrons), as well as the thermal characteristics of the lunar surface, the seismic activity surrounding the landing site, and the composition of the lunar crust and mantle.

The lander and rover will complete their research within two weeks. The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter can also serve as a backup communications relay due to the absence of direct connectivity between the rover and the National Space Agency.

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