Press ReleasesIndia Successfully Soft Lands Chandrayaan 3 on the Moon

India Successfully Soft Lands Chandrayaan 3 on the Moon

Millions visited Hindu temples and mosques while Sikh gurdwaras lined up to watch live broadcasts of ISRO's achievement.

India joined an exclusive club of nations by landing its spacecraft Chandrayaan-3 near the lunar south pole on Thursday evening. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), having learned from Chandrayaan-2’s failure to soft-land on the Moon last year, made changes in Vikram and Pragyan that ensured success this time.

Mission Overview

Chandrayaan-3 successfully touched down its lunar rover Friday morning at the Indian Space Research Organization’s mission control center here, to cheers of joy from mission control staff. Chandrayaan-3’s landing comes after its predecessor spacecraft failed in 2019 attempting to explore the Moon’s south pole, where scientists believe there may be significant amounts of water ice that may support human missions over longer durations.

ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft consisted of a propulsion module that carried its two parts, the Vikram (“Valor”) lander and solar-powered Pragyan (“Wisdom”) rover, to lunar orbit before they separated for landing. Meanwhile, the propulsion module continued orbiting around the Moon, collecting data and relaying signals to Earth while the lander attempted a controlled “soft landing.”

The primary scientific objective is to conduct studies of the lunar surface and, specifically, its shadowed craters near its polar region, where greater concentrations of water ice may exist than anywhere else on the Moon. Furthermore, two spectrometers will be included as analysis instruments to study the local elemental composition of lunar rocks and soil.

ISRO was confident after years of studying the Moon with its array of satellites and landers that their lander would safely land at its targeted spot in the highlands near the lunar south pole, where it will stay for one lunar day–equivalent to 14 Earth days. It will operate autonomously during its descent with continuous measurements of distance, velocity, and orientation sent from antennae back to Earth, triggering firing engines on command to make its journey through space.

The Lander

India made history when their glittering golden spacecraft successfully landed on the lunar surface on August 23 – becoming just the fourth nation after the United States, China, and the former Soviet Union to master a soft lunar landing. India’s lunar lander and rover were designed for scientific experiments, including testing mineral composition and seismic activity.

Solar-powered landers and rovers are expected to operate for two weeks, or one lunar day, before running out of fuel and being forced to shut down. Meanwhile, during that period, the rover will send high-resolution images and data back to Earth even though its instruments might not survive the harsh lunar night conditions.

ISRO reports that both their lander and rover are in good condition despite the challenging terrain they traversed, with ISRO noting they both contain numerous science instruments, including an element and chemical composition analyzer that should help identify where lunar water originates; it will also take photos of lunar surface images to compare with images taken from Earth to gain greater insight into how our Moon was created.

Chandrayaan-3’s successful launch and 22-day journey into lunar orbit since July 14 has caused celebration across India. ISRO chief S. Somanath called Chandrayaan-3 a “huge success,” thanking Indians for their support. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated it, noting that its landing would open new scientific research and discovery avenues.

The Rover

Contrasting with its counterpart, which aims to touch down on the Moon gently, the rover is mobile; it can traverse lunar terrain while taking detailed images to help scientists gain more insight into our neighboring celestial body.

CH-3’s scientific team is meticulous in their work. Each spacecraft element must pass stringent tests before the team can consider it complete. Success for CH-3 lies with coordination among mechanical, electrical, and software teams – as well as between their mechanical counterparts that build hardware components, electrical team that wires it all together, software team that codes its controls and behaviors, mechanical team that crafts hardware parts as well as software team that codes controls and behaviors of CH-3 – “it is an intricate dance,” states Brooke Chalmers of Khoury College who co-leads the software team with fellow Khoury College student Shannon McInnis; “it takes practice – but is very rewarding!” “It takes practice,” observes Brooke Chalmers, who co-leads the software team alongside Khoury College student Shannon McInnis at Khoury, “to produce results; practice makes perfect.”

For instance, the rover must traverse 15 critical steps within seven minutes – known as “The Seven Minutes of Terror” – which could endanger years of work and jeopardize mission goals and years of effort. These include deploying ramps, antennas, pyro systems, and critical sensors like Laser Altimeters, Laser Doppler Velocimeters, and Lander Horizontal Velocity Cameras used during landing power descent phase navigation.

Once in place, the rover will embark on its scientific missions: measuring vibrations caused by seismic events and exploring elemental composition using instruments like RAMBHA-LP (Langmuir Probe), CHASTE (thermal probe), Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA), as well as measuring light from lunar surface to identify its chemical makeup using spectro-polarimeters on both rover and lander spectra for chemical analysis.

The Future

Chandrayaan-3 adds to an international rush to send hardware to the Moon, particularly its south pole. Both upcoming crewed missions by the US and China are designed to explore this region, which could contain water ice that fuels long-duration space missions; India’s lander and rover should help scientists gain more knowledge about this part of space before any further landings occur.

Once the lander had stopped orbiting, panels on one side opened to deploy a ramp for Pragyan to slide down onto the surface. Once there, Pragyan will explore rocks and craters, looking for mineral deposits while investigating the chemical composition of soil. Pragyan will always communicate via radio with the Earth-bound orbiter while relaying data back on Mars.

Schools held viewing parties where children eagerly waved flags; Bollywood stars, politicians, and global icons also showed their admiration on social media for ISRO – marking this victory as an enormous boost for its ambitious space program, an initiative Prime Minister Narendra Modi has prioritized as part of his push towards economic global dominance. This success marks another triumphant step in Modi’s push toward economic global dominance.

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