India’s Chandrayaan-3 becomes first spacecraft to land on lunar South Pole

Science & Technology

Chandrayaan-3 lander touched down successfully on August 23, 2023, making India the fourth country globally to successfully land a spacecraft on the moon and the first on the lunar South Pole. The touchdown of the lander module, Vikram, was planned as soon as the sun rose on the moon, four years after India’s second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, crashed on the surface of the moon in September 2019. Indian Space Research Organization analyzed each contingency and rectified the errors of the last mission. It strengthened the craft’s hardware and software and prepared for worst-case scenarios via simulations besides making a backup plan. ISRO chairman S Somanath told Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who watched the landing from South Africa, that they have achieved the soft landing on the moon. “India is on the moon. I request our PM [Prime Minister] to address…” 
Modi called the landing a historic moment and said it sounded bugle for a developed India. “…history has been made…Such historical events become part of the eternal consciousness of a nation’s life.” 
Chandrayaan-3’s lander was designed to identify its landing site after final checks. The site for the landing was increased to an area of 4km x 2.5km from the 500m x 500m that was planned for its predecessor. 
Vikram’s legs were engineered to be stronger compared to the Chandrayaan-2 lander. The lander and rover will take pictures of each other to ensure communication between them, and ISRO’s base station. The indigenous lander module, propulsion module, and rover on Chandrayaan-3 seek to develop and demonstrate new technologies for interplanetary missions. The propulsion module separated from the craft will carry out independent experiments in the lunar orbit. The rover will carry out in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface during the course of its mobility. Both the lander and the rover are equipped with scientific payloads to carry out experiments.