BENGALURU, August 23 – India celebrated a significant achievement in space exploration as its Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft successfully landed on the moon today. This historic mission, coming just days after a Russian lander failed, is being hailed as a crucial milestone for India’s space ambitions and scientific endeavors. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was attending the BRICS summit in South Africa, enthusiastically remarked, “This is a victory cry of a new India,” while waving the Indian flag during the landing.
The successful landing sparked jubilation among scientists and officials, who exchanged cheers, applause, and embraces. It’s expected that this achievement will now boost investment in India’s private space launch industry and satellite-based businesses. S. Somanath, chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), proudly declared, “India is on the moon,” as the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft touched down on the lunar south pole. This successful mission was India’s second attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon. It followed less than a week after Russia’s Luna-25 mission ended in failure.
The anticipation surrounding the landing gripped the entire nation, with citizens glued to their television screens and many offering prayers for its success. Chandrayaan, which translates to “moon vehicle” in Hindi and Sanskrit, saw success in 2019 when ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 mission deployed an orbiter, although its lander didn’t survive the landing. Chandrayaan-3 is set to remain operational for two weeks, conducting various experiments, including a spectrometer analysis of the lunar surface’s mineral composition. Landing on the moon’s south pole, despite the challenging terrain, is of great significance. It opens doors for India to explore the presence of water ice on the moon, a crucial resource for future missions.
Carla Filotico, a partner and managing director at consultancy SpaceTec Partners, emphasized, “Landing on the south pole (of the moon) would actually allow India to explore if there is water ice on the moon. And this is very important for cumulative data and science on the geology of the moon.” Anticipation before the landing was palpable, with Indian newspapers featuring banner headlines, and news channels conducting countdowns. Prayers were offered at places of worship across the nation, and schoolchildren eagerly waved the Indian tricolor while awaiting live coverage of the landing.
Children gathered at the banks of the Ganga river, considered sacred by Hindus, and mosques in various locations held prayers. Even at a Sikh temple in New Delhi, Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri offered prayers for the success of Chandrayaan-3. Minister Puri reflected on the accomplishment, stating, “Not just economic, but India is achieving scientific and technological progress as well.” The successful Chandrayaan-3 mission represents a significant stride for India in the field of space exploration, reaffirming its position as a growing space power with a promising future in space science and technology.