India has become the fourth nation to land on the moon and also the first to land on the moon’s South Pole. The new historic feat has cemented India’s status as a global superpower in space.
One of the mission’s major goals is to hunt for water-based ice, which scientists say could support human habitation on the Moon in the future.
Now that Chandrayaan-3 has successfully landed on the moon’s south pole, India is only the fourth country to have achieved a soft landing on the Moon.
India’s attempt was successful just days after Russia’s ‘Luna-25’ crashed while trying to touch down in the same region.
The south pole of the Moon holds special promise in the search for water in the form of ice. The surface area that remains in permanent shadow there is huge, and scientists say it means there must be water in these areas.
The US, the former Soviet Union and China have all achieved a soft landing near the Moon’s equator – but none have led successful missions to its south pole.
This successful landing marks India as a space power as the government looks to spur investment in private space launches and related satellite-based businesses.
People across the country were glued to television screens and said prayers as the spacecraft approached the surface.
Carla Filotico, a partner and managing director at consultancy SpaceTec Partners said, ‘Landing on the south pole would actually allow India to explore if there is water ice on the moon and this is very important for cumulative data and science on the geology of the moon’.
The Indian Space Research Organisation said that the ‘Chandrayaan-3’ spacecraft landed on the lunar south pole, this was India’s second attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon and comes less than a week after Russia’s Luna-25 crashed on the lunar surface.
India is using rockets much less powerful than the ones the United States used back then, meaning the probe had to orbit the Earth several times to gain speed before embarking on its month-long journey.