India is finally on the Moon. The historic event occurred this Wednesday, August 23. An unmanned spacecraft landed on the surface of our satellite. This is the first arrival at the lunar south pole. No country had ever achieved it before.
This cold, dark place is highly prized by the world’s most important space agencies. Abundant water reserves were detected there that could be exploited for future colonization. The mission is called Chandrayaan-3. It is a turning point for the Indian Space Research Agency (ISRO). A few days ago, Russia tried to position a robotic probe in that same territory. But the spacecraft crashed into the lunar soil because of an incorrect maneuver. The same happened in April with Hakuto-R, a probe from a private Japanese company. NASA will not launch a mission until 2025.
It was broadcast live on ISRO’s official YouTube channel. After the first arrival at the lunar south pole, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave remarks. “The success of India’s lunar mission does not belong to India alone,” Modi said. “This success belongs to all of humanity,” he added.
Hours later, the ISRO agency also posted on its social media the first photograph of the Vikram module taken from lunar soil. It shows a limb of the spacecraft and its respective shadow.
India becomes the fourth country to reach the moon. It could acquire a dominant position in the space race to the moon. “This moment is unforgettable. It is phenomenal. This is a victory cry of a new India,” the Indian prime minister declared. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) congratulated their Indian competitors for the incredible feat.
“Congratulations to ISRO on its successful landing at the lunar South Pole Chandrayaan-3! And congratulations to India for being the fourth country to successfully land a spacecraft on the Moon,” stated Bill Nelson, administrator of the U.S. space agency.
Meanwhile, Josef Aschbacher, ESA director, expressed his surprise and delight: “Incredible! Congratulations to ISRO, Chandrayaan-3 and all the people of India! What a way to demonstrate new technologies and achieve India’s first soft landing on another celestial body! I am very impressed,” he said.