Highlights of the Chandrayaan 3 Moon Landing: India Joins the Elite Space Club after the Moon Landing

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August 24, 2023

India’s Moon rover has established its first touch with the lunar surface, one day after becoming the first country to land close to the south pole.

The space agency claims that Chandrayaan-3’s rover “ramped down” from the lander and that “India took a walk on the Moon!”
As planned, the Vikram lander successfully made landfall on Wednesday evening.
With this, India becomes one of just four countries—along with the US, the former Soviet Union, and China—to carry out a soft landing on the moon.
The 26 kilogram Pragyaan (the Sanskrit word for wisdom) rover was carried to the Moon by the Vikram lander’s belly.
Once the dust from last night’s landing had dissipated, panels on one side of Vikram opened, allowing Pragyaan to float down to the lunar surface.

It will now explore the craters and rocks in order to acquire important data and take images that will be sent back to Earth for analysis.

Pragyaan is carrying two scientific instruments to analyse the chemical makeup of the soil and identify the minerals that are present on the lunar surface. Only the lander will be in communication with Pragyaan; the lander will then send the data to Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter, which is still rotating around the Moon, for examination. The rover will move at a speed of one centimetre per second, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), and with each step it will leave a mark on the Moon’s surface bearing Isro’s symbol and logo.

It will be possible to learn more about what happens on the Moon’s surface as well as above and below it thanks to the lander’s array of scientific sensors. The lander and rover will have 14 days of sunshine to charge their batteries because the touchdown occurred at the start of a lunar day, which is equivalent to 28 days on Earth. However, they will discharge and stop operating once night falls; it is unknown if they will start again when the next lunar day starts or not.

Although it is thought that the Moon has considerable amounts of minerals, Chandrayaan-3’s primary goal is to look for water. Experts believe that the massive, permanently shaded craters near the south pole contain ice that could one day enable human habitation on the Moon. It might also be used to refuel spacecraft going to Mars and other distant worlds.

On Wednesday, stress was raised by the lander’s risky fall and the nervous moments prior to touchdown. The lander’s speed gradually dropped from 1.68 km/s to almost 0 km/s, enabling a soft touchdown on the moon’s surface.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that “India is now on the Moon” and that “we have reached where no other country could” as people all throughout the country rejoiced over the historic accomplishment.
A few days before the landing, the Russian Luna-25 spacecraft spun out of control and collided with the Moon.
In addition, the incident highlighted the region’s difficult terrain, which is characterised as being “very uneven” and “full of stones and potholes.”

India’s second lunar mission, which attempted to soft-land there in 2019 in a similar manner, was unsuccessful. Its orbiter was unharmed, but its lander and rover were destroyed. It is still orbiting the Moon right now, helping the Vikram lander send images and data back to Earth for analysis. India is not the only nation keeping an eye on the Moon; there is growing interest in it on a global scale, and several more missions will soon be visiting its surface. A portal to outer space, the Moon is frequently mentioned by experts, and they assert that there is still much to learn about it.