India’s Historic Lunar Mission Triumphs with Chandrayaan-3
In a historic milestone, India achieved a remarkable feat on August 23 at 6.04 p.m., successfully landing Chandrayaan-3 on the unexplored south pole of the Moon. India now stands as the only nation in the world to have accomplished this incredible lunar mission.
Chandrayaan-3 was launched into space on July 14, 2023. After entering lunar orbit on August 5, it executed a soft landing on the lunar south pole region, marking India as the fourth country to achieve this feat, following the U.S., Russia, and China.
This accomplishment is particularly significant considering the challenging lunar conditions, including unpredictable lighting and rugged terrain, which made the soft landing a formidable task.
Chandrayaan-3 is expected to operate for two weeks, conducting various experiments, including a spectrometer analysis of the lunar surface’s mineral composition.
Before Chandrayaan-3, India’s “partially successful” Chandrayaan-2 mission was launched on July 22, 2019. Unfortunately, the lander deviated from its intended trajectory during its attempted lunar surface landing, resulting in a crash.
India’s journey into lunar exploration traces back to 1999 when the government granted approval for the mission. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee played a pivotal role in motivating scientists to explore the Moon and renamed the mission from Somayaan to Chandrayaan.
Dr. K. Kasturirangan, former chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), emphasized Vajpayee’s vision, stating that “Vajpayee said the mission should be called Chandrayaan, as the country had emerged as an economic power and would undertake many exploratory journeys to the Moon.”
The idea of lunar exploration gained momentum in 1999 following discussions within the Indian Academy of Sciences and the Astronautical Society of India in 2000. This led to the establishment of the National Lunar Mission Task Force by ISRO, consisting of leading technologists and scientists.
Driven by growing international interest in lunar exploration and the potential for advancements, the task force unanimously recommended that India undertake a lunar mission.
In November 2003, the Central government approved ISRO’s proposal for India’s inaugural Moon Mission, setting the stage for Chandrayaan-1.
Prime Minister Vajpayee officially unveiled India’s first moon exploration plan, Chandrayaan-1, on August 15, 2003. He announced India’s intention to send a spacecraft to the Moon by 2008, marking a significant leap in the field of science.
Development of Chandrayaan-3 commenced in January 2020, with plans for launch the following year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused delays in executing the mission.
The lunar south pole, where Chandrayaan-3 has landed, is believed to contain ice reserves, which could serve as a source of water and oxygen. This discovery could validate future moon missions and support the establishment of a permanent lunar colony.
India’s successful lunar mission comes at a fraction of the cost compared to many other countries’ space missions, underscoring India’s potential to offer low-cost solutions for space advancements.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared August 23 as National Space Day to honor India’s scientific community and celebrate this historic achievement. For India, the sky is no longer the limit as it continues to make strides in space exploration.