India is on the Moon
"These were the words uttered by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he watched in excitement the successful landing of Chandrayaan 3 during his visit to Johannesburg for a 15th BRICS summit"
India’s moon mission Chandrayaan3 costed less than the budget spent on making a Hollywood flick. its success now has put India in the elite club of space explorers where only a handful of nations can claim to be achievers.
Amidst an atmosphere charged with anticipation and excitement, on Wednesday evening, India achieved an extraordinary milestone that sent ripples of pride throughout the nation. The Chandrayaan-3 lander module executed a flawless landing at the moon’s South Pole, marking a monumental achievement. This accomplishment not only made India the pioneer in this historic endeavor but also put to rest the disappointment from the Chandrayaan-2 crash landing four years prior.
On July 14, 2023, the journey began with the spacecraft’s launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. Employing a GSLV Mark 3 (LVM 3) heavy-lift launch vehicle, the spacecraft was inserted into lunar orbit on August 5. Over subsequent weeks, a series of skillful orbital maneuvers gradually brought it closer to the moon’s surface. Throughout this period, ISRO reassured the public that the spacecraft remained in optimal health.
ISRO’s meticulous preparations included an array of up-close images of the moon, which aided the lander in calculating its precise position, comparing them to an onboard lunar reference map. Traditionally, lunar missions have favored the equatorial region due to its favorable conditions. However, the lunar South Pole posed unique challenges with its demanding terrain.
The countdown of the Vikram lander was a tense spectacle. The module’s altitude dwindled, inching from 150 meters to 130, then 50 meters, as it decelerated while approaching the moon’s surface. In a breathtaking culmination, Vikram gracefully touched down on the lunar terrain. This event marked a remarkable leap in India’s space odyssey, providing a much-deserved climax to ISRO’s years of dedicated effort.
A significant turning point arrived on August 17 when the ‘Vikram’ lander module successfully detached from the propulsion module. This achievement was a poignant homage to Vikram Sarabhai (1919–1971), widely revered as the visionary father of India’s space program.
With this achievement, India solidified its position as the fourth nation, following the United States, China, and the former USSR, to successfully achieve a lunar landing. Yet, it was India that etched its name into the record books as the first country to grace the moon’s southern hemisphere with its touch.
In the lead-up to the scheduled soft landing of Chandrayaan-3, people from all corners of the country turned to prayer, seeking divine favor for the mission’s success. Special viewings of the event were arranged nationwide, spanning schools, science centers, and public institutions. ISRO thoughtfully ensured access to live coverage through its website, YouTube channel, Facebook, and the national broadcaster, DD National TV.
The Lander module underwent deboosting in two stages, carefully adjusting its trajectory to align with its lunar orbit. Chandrayaan-3’s objectives encompassed a safe and gentle lunar landing, rover mobility on the moon’s surface, and in-situ scientific experiments. Upon landing, both the lander and rover were poised to operate for the duration of a single lunar day, equivalent to 14 days on Earth.
Billions of eyes across India and around the world remained fixated on the historic occurrence. This fervent attention grew especially pronounced after the recent misfortune of Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft, which tragically crashed after spiraling out of control.
While Chandrayaan-2 experienced a partial success with a hard landing, recent success bridged the gap, establishing two-way communication between Chandrayaan-3’s lander module and Chandrayaan-2’s continuing orbiter. The founding visionary of ISRO, Vikram Sarabhai, aptly emphasized the integration of advanced technologies to address real societal issues. His legacy manifested in the establishment of ISRO, a pivotal milestone for India’s development.
In summation, India’s triumphant landing on the moon’s South Pole stands as an emblem of scientific progress, national unity, and relentless dedication. This milestone marks not only a technological achievement but also a tribute to the visionary dreams that were realized against all odds.
“Unlocking Lunar Mysteries: Chandrayaan-3’s Mission for Resource Exploration and Lunar Day Challenges”
- The touchdown coincides with the commencement of a lunar day – a day on the lunar surface corresponds to slightly over four weeks on Earth, signifying that the lander and rover will experience 14 days of illumination to recharge their batteries. After sunset, their energy will deplete, causing them to cease operation. The revival of their functions with the arrival of the subsequent lunar day remains uncertain. Among its cargo, the lander carries a variety of scientific instruments designed to uncover lunar surface phenomena and explore what lies both above and beneath.The Moon is believed to harbor crucial minerals, yet a primary objective of the Chandrayaan-3 mission is to explore for water. Researchers propose that the vast craters in the southern polar region, eternally cast in darkness, hold frozen resources that could eventually sustain human presence on the Moon. Furthermore, these resources could be employed as fuel for spacecraft journeying towards Mars and other remote destinations.
ISRO's Upcoming Missions
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