India has achieved a historic milestone by successfully landing its Moon mission in the lunar south pole region. This achievement places India among the exclusive group of nations that have accomplished a gentle touchdown on the Moon, following the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China. At 18:04 local time (12:34 GMT), the Vikram lander, part of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, made a planned and precise landing. The entire country erupted in celebrations, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarking that “India is now on the Moon.” He shared his joy over this remarkable accomplishment, noting that the country has ventured where no others have. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) led the mission, and its chief, Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, emphasized that this achievement is the result of the collective efforts of multiple generations of ISRO scientists.
The landing was characterized by tense moments as the Vikram lander, named after ISRO’s founder Vikram Sarabhai, executed its intricate descent. Safely nestled within it was the 26kg rover named Pragyaan, meaning “wisdom” in Sanskrit. The lander’s velocity was methodically reduced from 1.68km per second to nearly zero, allowing for a soft and controlled landing on the lunar surface. Following a brief interval, during which the dust stirred by the landing settles, the six-wheeled rover is anticipated to disembark from the lander’s enclosure. It will subsequently traverse the Moon’s terrain, capturing vital data and imagery, which will then be transmitted back to Earth for analysis.