India has made history with their latest space launch, They have completed a soft landing on the moon being the fourth country ever to accomplish the feat. Not only that, but the soft landing was also completed on the southern pole of the moon being the first ever landing to do so. The landing of Chandrayaan-3 occurred on Wednesday at 8:33 a.m. ET as an estimated 7 million people watched. India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, had this to say about the landing, “This moment is unforgettable. It is phenomenal. It is the call of a developed India. It is the victory call for a new India.” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and European Space Agency’s Director General Josef Aschbacher both congratulated India on their successful landing. Chandrayaan-3 is the third launch to the moon with the first one, Chandrayaan-1, just being a lunar orbiter, but the second one, Chandrayaan-2, was planned to land on the moon and was extremely similar to Chandrayaan-3. Sadly it failed when it went off course and crashed into the moon due to what is said to be a software glitch. This landing occurred just days after the failure of Russia’s Luna-25, which happened to be aiming for the same region. The thrusters on Luna-25 fired for a total of 127 seconds instead of the planned 84 seconds due to a software glitch causing it to spin out of control and crash. If the launch was successful it would have ended the 47-year wait from their last lunar landing. There were two modules sent to the moon: a lander named Vikram and a rover named Pragyan, Pragyan being a word for wisdom in Sanskrit, which is the sacred language of Hinduism. It is now planned to have Pragyan spend two weeks roaming around the landing site taking samples of the moon's gravel and rock to collect data. Pragyan is also there to test for ice as the area is believed by the global moon science and exploration community to have large amounts of ice in rocks in the permanently shadowed craters. India’s space agency ISRO (The Indian Space Research Organisation) was created 54 years ago in 1969, Since then they have launched 124 of their own spacecraft including 3 to the moon and one to Mars. They have also been the launch site of 424 satellites from other countries. As of Monday, September 4, India has confirmed that the lunar rover has been put to sleep as it wasn’t designed to collect data during the 14-day lunar night or when the Earth is shadowing the moon. “Currently, the battery is fully charged. The solar panel is oriented to receive the light at the next sunrise expected on September 22, 2023. The receiver is kept on. Hoping for a successful awakening for another set of assignments!" the Indian Space Research Organization said in a statement on Saturday, September 2. With this astounding achievement, India is now said to be planning to send the first Indian astronaut into space.
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Hari Kumar, Alex Travelli. “India Moon Landing: In Latest Moon Race, India Lands First in Southern Polar Region.” The New York Times, August 24, 2023. https://www.nytimes.com/live/2023/08/23/science/india-moon-landing-chandrayaan-3.
Pultarova, Tereza. “India’s Chandrayaan-3 Moon Rover Pragyan Rolls onto the Lunar Surface for 1st Time.” Space.com, August 24, 2023. https://www.space.com/chandrayaan-3-rover-first-steps-on-moon.
Sharma, Ashok, and Krutika Pathi. “India Lands a Spacecraft near the Moon’s South Pole, a First for the World as It Joins Elite Club.” AP News, August 24, 2023. https://apnews.com/article/india-spacecraft-chandrayaan-moon-landing-b31109bb08197f33b829e7a6e4edfc6d.
Owen Dustin is a sophomore at Poudre High School. This is his first year writing for the Poudre Press. At school, he is on the Alpine Robotics team and the unified flag football team. Outside of school he likes to mountain bike, play video games, and hang out with friends.