India Successfully Lands on the South Pole of the Moon, a Historic First
August 25, 2023

India Successfully Lands on the South Pole of the Moon, a Historic First

India Makes History by Successfully Landing on the South Pole of the Moon

That another Asian country is making history is evidenced by the fact that India is the first country in the world to successfully land on the South Pole of the Moon, or rather, its Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft did it. This lunar mission, moreover, puts India in the company of only three other countries that have ever managed to soft land a spacecraft on the surface of Earth's natural satellite – the former Soviet Union, the US and China.

The South Pole of the Moon is normally a difficult target for lunar missions due to its rugged terrain, and it is also important because it is said to contain water ice. The Indian landing followed four years after the previous Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft crashed and lost contact with the “lander” Vikram in lunar orbit.

This historic undertaking it happened on August 23 at 06:04 local time, prompting general cheers from Bangalore scientists monitoring the mission. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) broadcast the mission live on its internet platforms.

ISRO also announced on the X platform how the Lander Imager camera recorded the landing, or perhaps better said “moon landing”.

India has both national and commercial space competitors

The Indian “lander” and “rover” vehicle have five instruments designed to measure the properties of the Moon's atmosphere, surface and tectonic activity. The organization timed the landing for the beginning of a lunar day (which is about 28 Earth days), in order to make the most of the amount of solar energy for its research.

The Chandrayaan-3 success is a matter of national pride for India, and the country has no plans to stop and hopes to launch the space station around 2030. The information that India, on the other hand, collects in this mission could be crucial for future lunar missions of both this country and other countries of the world. Water ice found on the moon could supposedly be used for fuel, oxygen and water, scientists claim.

Unfortunately, the Russian Luna-25 crashed on the lunar surface between August 19 and 20. This ended another Russian lunar mission, the first after almost 50 years, i.e. since 1976.

Apart from Russia, there are other countries racing to land on the moon (again). Israel and the United Arab Emirates plan to do so within the next year, while the US hopes to return humans to the moon in 2025 with its Artemis 3 mission.

Of course, we should not forget that in addition to the state, private, commercial agencies such as Virgin Galactic or American billionaire Elon Musk's company Space X were also involved in space exploration.