India conducts a historic landing near the Moon’s south pole with Chandrayaan-3



In an epoch-making event, India etches its name in history as its lunar expedition attains a pioneering feat, accomplishing the first-ever landing in the hitherto uncharted precincts of the lunar south pole.

With this remarkable triumph, India ascends to an exclusive league of nations that have achieved a gentle touch-down upon the Moon’s rugged terrain. Preceding India, this feat has been accomplished solely by the United States, the erstwhile Soviet Union, and China.

The Vikram lunar module, an integral part of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, executed a meticulously planned touchdown, precisely at 18:04 local time (12:34 GMT).

Exultant celebrations have erupted across the expanse of the nation, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi heralding this momentous achievement, pronouncing, “India has now inscribed its presence upon the lunar domain.”

He further enunciated, “We stand upon a threshold hitherto unattained by any other sovereign entity. Truly, this is an occasion suffused with jubilation.” Mr. Modi, currently engaged at the Brics summit in South Africa, was an attentive observer of the event as it transpired.

The doyen of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, remarked on this triumphant accomplishment, elucidating that the success of this landing is not the solitary achievement of the current cohort of ISRO scientists, but an aggregate culmination of the toil and vision spanning generations.

This epochal moment for India arrives just days subsequent to the mishap of Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft, which veered off its intended trajectory and collided with the lunar surface.

This incident refocused attention on the formidable challenges intrinsic to executing a landing within the rugged precincts of the southern lunar pole, an expanse characterized by a topography markedly uneven, replete with craters and formidable boulders.

The annals of India’s lunar exploration chronicle a previous attempt in 2019, when its inaugural endeavor to softly alight upon this hallowed region met an unfortunate end, resulting in the destruction of its lander and rover, though the orbiter persevered.

The unfolding of Wednesday was accompanied by moments fraught with tension as the lander, christened Vikram in honor of ISRO’s visionary founder, Vikram Sarabhai, embarked on its precipitous descent. Enclosed within its belly was ensconced the 26kg rover christened Pragyaan, a Sanskrit nomenclature that translates to “wisdom.”

The velocity of the lander underwent a gradual attenuation, descending from 1.68 kilometers per second to virtually nil, thereby facilitating a gentle touchdown upon the lunar expanse.

Following an interlude of a few hours, when the lunar regolith’s dust settles, the hexapodal rover shall traverse its egress from the confines of the lander’s compartment, embarking on an exploration of the Moon’s terrain characterized by its rocky outcrops and craters. During this venture, it shall amass pivotal data and imagery, destined for transmission back to Earth.

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