August 23, 2023, marks a historic feat for India as Chandrayaan-3 successfully lands on the moon’s south pole. Today, India has become the first country in the world to land on the lunar south pole. At 6:04 pm IST, the Vikram lander, which was named after the Father of India’s space mission, set its feet on the lunar surface.
值得注意的是,这一历史时刻four years after India’s Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) failed to land on the Moon when Chandrayaan-2’s lander crashed minutes before landing. This has been India’s third lunar mission in 15 years.
The spacecraft attempted and successfully completed a soft landing on the lunar surface. If you don’t understand what soft landing is, here is a simple explanation for it: “Soft” landing means reaching the surface without damaging the spacecraft. It involves a controlled descent from speeds over 6,000 km/h to zero. “Hard” landing, on the other hand, occurs at a higher descent speed than a soft landing. A hard landing cam damage the probe, potentially even failing the mission.
It is said that the moon’s south pole is the most challenging place to land. A few days ago, Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft encountered a catastrophic failure shortly after a critical manoeuvre as it was being positioned into its pre-landing orbit, before crashing into the Moon’s surface. This marked a disappointing end to Russia’s first moon mission in nearly half a century.
However, this meant that the door remained open for India to set a new bar for moon exploration. It is believed that the lunar south pole’s shadowed craters contain water ice that could support a future base on the moon, allowing astronauts and scientists to work there for extended periods. Space agencies across the world including NASA have detected frozen water in the craters of the lunar south pole before, but no country has ever successfully ventured into the region. It is believed that if water ice is really found on the surface, it could be used for fuel, oxygen, and drinking water. Not only this, but it will also provide insight into past lunar volcanoes and the origins of our own oceans.
While Russia and India have attempted uncrewed mission to the south pole of the moon, there are other countries involved as well. The United States of America is trying to land astronauts at the site by 2025, and China has similar plans aimed to be achieved towards the end of the decade.
Currently, only four nations have successfully landed on the moon, namely, the United States of America, Russia, China, and now India. India has made history by landing on the little-explored southern surface of the moon, becoming the first country to ever do so.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently in South Africa for the BRICS summit, said, “No country has reached there (the South Pole of the moon) before. With the hard work of our scientists, we have reached there. We are witness to the new flight of new India; new history has been written says PM Modi on the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3,”.