India Launches Chandrayaan-3: A Step Towards Lunar Exploration.

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India has embarked on its third lunar mission, aiming to achieve a historic soft landing near the unexplored south pole of the Moon. The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, comprising an orbiter, lander, and rover, took off from the Sriharikota space centre on Friday, lifting off at 14:35 local time. If successful, India will become the fourth country to accomplish a soft landing on the Moon, following the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China. Thousands of spectators witnessed the majestic sight of the rocket soaring into the sky, erupting in cheers and applause.

The Journey Begins: Lift Off and Commendations

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief, Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, expressed his delight after the successful launch, announcing that Chandrayaan-3 had commenced its journey towards the Moon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the mission as a testament to the relentless dedication and ingenuity of Indian scientists, elevating the dreams and ambitions of the nation. Chandrayaan-3 builds upon the achievements of India’s previous lunar missions, with the first mission in 2008 conducting a groundbreaking search for water on the lunar surface. Chandrayaan-2, launched in 2019, made significant progress despite a partial success due to a last-minute braking system glitch.

Goals and Features of Chandrayaan-3

Chandrayaan-3, weighing 3,900kg and costing 6.1 billion rupees ($75 million), shares the same objectives as its predecessor. The lander, named Vikram, weighing approximately 1,500kg, carries the 26kg rover, Pragyaan, which translates to “wisdom” in Sanskrit. Once the craft enters the Moon’s orbit in about 15 to 20 days, scientists will meticulously reduce its speed to enable a soft landing for Vikram. If all goes according to plan, the rover will traverse the lunar surface, collecting vital data and images for analysis. The mission aims to study the physical characteristics of the Moon’s surface, its atmosphere, and tectonic activity, with a focus on unexplored areas such as the south pole.

Regaining Confidence and Pursuing New Frontiers

Learning from the previous crash during Chandrayaan-2, ISRO has analyzed the data and conducted simulation exercises to rectify the errors. The lunar landing must be precise, coinciding with the start of a lunar day to ensure that the lander and rover’s batteries receive sunlight for charging and operation. The Moon mission not only symbolizes India’s technological prowess but also underscores the larger goal of the nation’s space program in advancing science, technology, and humanity’s future. With growing global interest in lunar exploration, understanding the Moon as a gateway to deep space remains a crucial scientific endeavor. The successful Chandrayaan-3 mission marks a significant step towards establishing a future lunar outpost and extended human presence on the Moon.

SOURCE: Ref Image from Mint

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