How India's Chandrayaan-3 Made History By Touching The Moon's Surface

India, along with only four other nations, has achieved the feat of landing on the moon. However, in addition to India, the other three countries - the United States, Russia, and China - have conquered the lunar north pole.

This made the mystery of the southern pole uncharted territory. India has now unveiled that mystery to the world. On Wednesday evening (August 23), Chandrayaan-3's lander Vikram successfully touched down on the elusive lunar south pole in just 6 minutes and 4 seconds.

Recently, Russia's Luna-25 had a mishap during its lunar mission. However, history was created by India's Chandrayaan-3.

India Makes History With Chandrayaan-3 Landing

S. Somnath, the director of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), stated, "We have successfully landed on the soft lunar surface. India is now on the moon."

India now joins the list of countries that have successfully accomplished lunar landings, with Chandrayaan-3 being the fourth. It is through this achievement that India's ISRO has added another milestone to its already impressive space exploration history, joining the ranks of the United States, Russia, and China.

The final moments of this historic mission are being broadcasted directly by ISRO. Millions of people have witnessed this broadcast. In line with this, all schools in the country were kept open. During the BRICS Summit, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually joined ISRO's celebration from South Africa.

Where Chandrayaan-3 has landed, there is ice or frozen water, and possibly, frozen gases. This could make this location a potential source of oxygen and fuel, which could be essential for future lunar missions or for establishing a permanent presence on the moon.

How Did Chandrayaan-3 Touch The Moon's Surface?

First, the velocity of Chandrayaan is reduced using retro-braking. It takes about 7-8 minutes to slow down the velocity. About 13 minutes before landing, Chandrayaan-3 approaches at an altitude of about 24 kilometers. There is high tension in the control room during this time.

The lander's module's horizontal velocity is reduced using the four throttle engines, generating 800 Newtons of thrust. After retro-braking, Chandrayaan-3 will be positioned angularly with respect to the lunar surface, ensuring that both its altimeters are aligned towards the moon.

At local time 5:58 PM, the lander comes within 1 kilometer. The vertical descent phase begins. At this stage, the lander's thrusters burn as it moves slowly towards the lunar surface. Gradually, Chandrayaan-3 descends to a height of 350 meters. It hovers or holds position there for 20-22 seconds. Then, two thrusters ignite from 150 meters away. Slowly but steadily, Chandrayaan-3 descends to the lunar surface. At 6:04 PM, India successfully touched the moon's surface.

Previously, the hearts of Indians were broken when Chandrayaan-2's lander failed to make a successful landing. It came very close, within 2.1 kilometers of the lunar surface, but lost contact in September 2019. This time, the anticipation for a successful landing was even higher, and ISRO scientists were cautious. However, this time, Chandrayaan-3 achieved a successful landing on the lunar surface.

On July 14, at 2:35 PM, launch vehicle Mark-3 carried the payload to the moon's destination. Inside the lander, a rover (a small vehicle) will be deployed. It will traverse the lunar surface, collecting crucial scientific data. It is equipped with navigation cameras and a solar panel, among other instruments.

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