“India is on the moon!”
With these words, Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated the fact that his country became the first nation on Wednesday to land an unmanned spacecraft near the south pole of Earth's natural satellite.
The Chandrayaan mission -3 managed to carry a module, which contains a remote-controlled guided vehicle that will travel through this unexplored area of ??the Moon, to search for water-based ice.This milestone also made India the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the Moon.
As soon as the moon landing was confirmed, Prime Minister Modi addressed the nation and assured the feat achieved by his country is proof that “the sky is not the limit”.
“We can all aspire to go to the Moon and beyond,” said the president in a videoconference from South Africa, where he is participating in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit.
The Indian mission came days after Russia failed in his attempt to reach the same area, as his Luna-25 vehicle crashed.
This is the second operation of this nature launched by India. In 2019, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) attempted to land another rover at the lunar south pole, but failed.
The Moon's south pole holds particular promise in the search for frozen water. The reason? The huge area remains in permanent shadow, and therefore, scientists believe that there is a possibility that there is water in that area.
Until now, the United States, the extinct Soviet Union and China were the only countries that they had been able to send ships and make soft landings near the Moon's equator. However, none of these three countries had managed to lead successful missions to its South Pole.
Chandrayaan-3 is India's third mission to the Moon and lifted off on July 14 from the Sriharikota space center,
The lander, named Vikram after ISRO founder Vikram Sarabhai, carried inside its womb the 26-kilogram land rover called Pragyaan, which means wisdom in Sanskrit.
A complex operation
As soon as the Vikram touched down on the lunar soil, excitement erupted in the Indian control center. A joy more than justified, because the descent in this area is quite a challenge.
The spacecraft had to land in a “very irregular area, full of craters and rocks,” they explained from ISRO to BBC.
The lander went from a high-speed horizontal position to a vertical position without hiccups. In this phase where the Chandrayaan-2 failed in 2019. The device lost control in the last minutes of the descent, which caused its accident.
Once on the surface and after the dust had settled, the six-wheeled rover rolled out of the lander's belly.
The so- called rover was scheduled to begin circling around the rocks and craters, collecting crucial data and images to send to the lander, which will transmit it to the orbiter for it to send back to Earth.
The rover wheels bear the logo and emblem of ISRO etched so that they leave footprints in the lunar soil during their walk, an official told the BBC.