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India is now the fourth nation to have a spacecraft successfully land on the moon.

(Qnnflash) – India has successfully achieved the landing of its Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on the lunar surface, thereby joining the exclusive group of nations that have accomplished this remarkable endeavor, which includes only three other countries.

The successful completion of the mission has the potential to solidify India’s position as a prominent global player in the realm of space exploration and technology. Historically, gentle landings on the lunar surface have been achieved exclusively by the United States, China, and the former Soviet Union.

The landing site of Chandrayaan-3 is situated in closer proximity to the south pole of the moon than any previous spacecraft has explored. The southern polar region is widely recognized as an area of significant scientific and strategic importance for nations engaged in space exploration, primarily due to the presence of water ice deposits as hypothesized by scientists.

The water present in the shaded craters has the potential to be transformed into rocket propellant or potable water for forthcoming manned expeditions.

The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who is presently in South Africa to attend the BRICS Summit, saw the landing in a virtual manner and thereafter delivered statements that were televised on the livestream.

“I’d like to take this happy opportunity to speak to everyone in the world,” he remarked. India’s triumphant lunar expedition is not solely attributed to India alone. The current year marks the occasion of India’s G20 presidency, which is being observed on a global scale. The concept of “one Earth, one family, one future” is gaining widespread recognition and support worldwide.

The human-centric approach that we propose and embody has been generally embraced. Modi further emphasized that our lunar expedition is similarly grounded in a human-centered perspective. Hence, this achievement is collectively attributed to the entirety of humankind, and it is poised to facilitate forthcoming lunar expeditions undertaken by other nations.

India’s recent endeavor to successfully land its spacecraft in close proximity to the lunar south pole coincides with another nation’s recent unsuccessful attempt to achieve the same objective. On August 19, the Luna 25 spacecraft of Russia experienced a crash onto the moon due to engine malfunction, so concluding the nation’s initial endeavor to land on the lunar surface in a span of 47 years.

The journey of Chandrayaan-3

During the approach of Chandrayaan-3 towards the moon, a series of images were recorded by its cameras, among which one particular image taken on August 20 was revealed by India’s space agency on Tuesday. The provided visual representation presents a detailed view of the moon’s surface, characterized by a dusty gray topography.

The lunar lander of India comprises three components, namely a lander, rover, and propulsion module. The propulsion module is responsible for supplying the spacecraft with the necessary thrust to travel across the 384,400-kilometer (238,855-mile) distance separating the moon and Earth.

The lunar lander, known as Vikram, successfully executed the necessary precision maneuvers to achieve a gentle touchdown on the lunar surface subsequent to its separation from the propulsion module. Contained within the spacecraft is Pragyan, a diminutive rover equipped with six wheels, which will be released from the lander via a ramp-assisted rolling mechanism.

Vikram employed its onboard thrusters to meticulously align its position while nearing the lunar surface, gradually reducing engine power to achieve a controlled landing slightly past 6 p.m. IST (8:30 a.m. ET), prompting an outburst of cheers in the mission control room.

The lander, with a mass of around 1,700 kilograms (3,748 pounds), and a rover weighing 26 kilograms (57.3 pounds), are equipped with a variety of scientific instruments. These instruments are intended to collect data that will aid researchers in analyzing the composition of the lunar surface, thereby providing novel insights.

According to Dr. Angela Marusiak, an assistant research professor affiliated with the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, there is a notable level of enthusiasm around the inclusion of a seismometer in the lunar lander. This instrument is designed to detect seismic activity occurring within the interior of the moon.

According to Marusiak, investigating the movement patterns of the moon’s internal layers holds significant potential for informing future lunar surface missions.

Marusiak emphasized the importance of ensuring the absence of any potential seismic activity that could pose a threat to the safety of astronauts. Alternatively, in the event of constructing lunar structures, it is imperative that they are designed to withstand potential seismic disturbances.

The anticipated operational duration of the lander and rover on the lunar surface is around two weeks. The propulsion module will be retained in orbit, functioning as a relay station for transmitting data to Earth.

A worldwide moon rush

India, in collaboration with its allies including the United States and France, is actively contributing to the emergence of a second wave of space powers. The nation’s space program has emerged as one of the most active globally in its pursuit of advanced space exploration technology.

Chandrayaan-3 has garnered significant national pride and generated great curiosity throughout India. A multitude of individuals congregated at the launchpad situated within the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, located in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh state. Their purpose was to witness the commencement of the mission’s ascent into the skies, which occurred in the month of July. On Wednesday, a broadcast of the landing attracted an audience of almost 8 million individuals.

A crowd of no fewer than 500 individuals congregated at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday. The event was live-streamed within an auditorium and also projected outdoors at a makeshift pavilion. Following the confirmation of a successful landing, the audience was presented with Indian sweets, firecrackers were ignited, and the spectators expressed their appreciation through applause that lasted for a duration exceeding one minute.

The atmosphere resonated with the resounding chants of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai,” which translates to “victory to India.” Additionally, the jubilant waving of the Indian flag by children added to the overall sense of excitement and celebration.

The significance of India’s mission has been amplified following the unsuccessful landing attempt of Russia’s Luna 25. Following the accomplishment of Chandrayaan-3, India has attained the distinction of becoming the second nation, after China, to successfully execute a lunar landing in the 21st century. China, having deployed three landers on the lunar surface since 2013, holds the distinction of being the first country to achieve a touchdown on the far side of the moon. The final United States lunar lander, known as the Apollo 17 mission, successfully made contact with the lunar surface in the year 1972.

Several countries, numbering over twelve, have formulated plans for upcoming moon missions. Among these countries is Japan, whose space agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), is scheduled to launch a mission later this month. In addition, the United States has formulated intentions to dispatch three private lunar landers to the moon, with the earliest launch anticipated to occur this year. Concurrently, NASA is actively pursuing its Artemis III mission, with the objective of perhaps reinstating astronauts on the lunar surface by 2025.

The act of landing on the moon continues to present significant challenges. The 2019 Chandrayaan-2 mission, aimed at landing a spacecraft on the moon, was unsuccessful in India’s most recent endeavor in this regard. In recent decades, there have been two instances of commercial spacecraft crash-landing on the lunar surface. One such incident occurred in 2019, involving a spacecraft from Israel, while the other incident took place in April and involved a spacecraft from Japan.

In a statement released on Sunday, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson expressed the unequivocal difficulty associated with the task of successfully landing on the Moon. However, the Moon presents significant scientific potential, which explains the surge in recent endeavors to revisit its surface. We anticipate the acquisition of knowledge in the forthcoming period, particularly from India’s Chandraayan-3 mission.

On Wednesday, Nelson expressed his congratulations on social media, commending India on its achievement as the fourth nation to successfully execute a soft-landing of a spacecraft on the Moon. We are pleased to serve as your collaborator in this endeavor.

India is a participant in the United States’ Artemis Accords, a formal agreement that delineates certain guidelines for forthcoming lunar expeditions. The deals have not been signed by Russia and China.

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