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India landed on the moon with the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, becoming only the fourth country in history to do so.
The mission could cement India's status as a global space superpower. Previously, only the United States, China and the former Soviet Union had performed soft landings on the lunar surface.
The Chandrayaan-3 landing site is also closer to the Moon's south pole than any other spacecraft in history. The South Pole region is considered an area of critical scientific and strategic importance to space-faring nations, as scientists believe this region is home tofrozen waterdeposits.
Frozen waterCientista Kratery, could be turned into rocket fuel and even into drinking water for future manned missions.
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A former NASA astronaut explains why the Moon's south pole is of particular interest
00:45 - Source:CNN
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, currently in South Africa at the BRICS Summit, watched the disembarkation virtually and shared his observations via live broadcast.
"On this joyous occasion... I would like to address all the people of the world," he said. “The Indian lunar mission was successful not only in India. This is the year the world witnesses India's presidency of the G20. Our approach to one Earth, one family and one future echoes around the world.
“This human-centered approach that we present and represent has been widely welcomed. Our lunar mission also follows the same human-centric approach,” added Modi. "So this success belongs to all of humanity and will help other countries' lunar missions in the future."
India's attempt to land a spacecraft near the moon's south pole comes just days after another country failed to do the same. Russian spacecraft Luna 25the fate of bothAugust 19 after engine failure, ending the first lunar landing attempt in 47 years.
A Jornada de Chandrayaan-3
As Chandrayaan-3 approached the moon, its cameras took pictures, including one taken on Aug. 20, which was shared on Tuesday by the Indian space agency. The image shows a close-up of the moon's dusty gray terrain.
The Indian lunar module consists of three parts: the lander, the rover and the propulsion module, which gave the spacecraft all the necessary thrust to traverse the 384,400 km (238,855 miles) of vacuum between the Moon and Earth.
The lander, called Vikram, performed the precise maneuvers necessary for a smooth landing on the lunar surface after being ejected from its propulsion module. Inside is Pragyan, a small six-wheeled rover that rolls out of the lander after rolling down the ramp.
Vikrama he used the onboard thrusters to orient himself precisely as he approached the lunar surface, and slowly reduced engine power to land just after 6 pm. IST (8:30 am EST) when applause erupted from Mission Control.
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO, later).confirmedestablished two-way communication with the spacecraft and shared the first surface images taken during the probe's final descent.
The approximately 1,700 kilograms (3,748 pounds) lander and 26 kilograms (57.3 pounds) rover are equipped with scientific data capture instruments that will help researchers analyze the lunar surface and provide new insights into its composition.
There was applause in the control room on Wednesday as India's lunar module landed on the lunar surface.
Angela Marusiak, an assistant professor at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, said she was especially excited that the lunar module would be equipped with a seismometer that would try to detect earthquakes inside the moon.
Studying the movement of the Moon's inner layers could provide crucial information for future efforts on the lunar surface, Marusiak said.
"You want to make sure that any potential seismic activity doesn't endanger any astronauts," Marusiak said. "Or if we were building structures on the Moon, they would be protected from any seismic activity."
The lander and rover are expected to operate on the lunar surface for about two weeks. The propulsion module will remain in orbit, serving as a relay point for transmitting data back to Earth.
Global Lunar Race
CooperationalliesIndia, like the United States and France, is among the second wave of emerging space powers. The national space program has become one of the world's most charged programs in the area of space research technology development.
Chandrayaan-3 is a matter of national pride and widespread interest across India. Crowds gathered at ullauncherat the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, to watch the mission fly in July. On Wednesday, more than 8 million people watched the live stream of the landing.
School children in Guwahati, India, celebrate the successful landing of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on the moon on Wednesday.
At least 500 people gathered on Wednesday at the Scientific and Industrial Research Council of India in New Delhi, where the live broadcast was broadcast in the auditorium and outdoors in a temporary pavilion. After confirming the successful landing, Indian sweets were distributed to the public, fireworks were lit and applause lasted for over a minute.
You could hear the songs “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” – which means “Victory of India”, and the children happily waved the Indian flag.
India's mission has become even more important since Russia's failed attempt to land on Luna 25. Thanks to the success of Chandrayaan-3, India has become the second country to land a spacecraft on the Moon in the 21st century, after China , which has put three on the lunar surface since 2013, including probes - including the first to land on the Moon.far to the side. (The last American lunar module, the manned Apollo 17 mission, landed in 1972.)
The photo above is an image of the lunar surface taken by the mission's Lander Horizontal Velocity Camera during the spacecraft's descent on Wednesday.
More than a dozen countries have plans for missions to the Moon in the coming years, including a mission launched by Japan's space agency - the Japan Space Research Agency - due to launch later this month. The United States also has plans to sendthree commercial lunar probesto the Moon later this year, while NASA continues to work on the Artemis III mission, which could send astronauts back to the Moon as early as 2025.
However, landing on the Moon remains a difficult task. India's last attempt to land a spacecraft on the Moon during the Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019 failed. Recently, two commercial spacecraft crashed onto the moon's surface - one ofIsraelin 2019 and the second zJapanin April.
"There's no question that landing on the moon is a real challenge," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement on Sunday. “But the Moon offers great scientific wealth, which is why we have seen so many attempts to revisit the surface recently. We look forward to everything we learn in the future, including India's Chandraayan-3 mission.”
On Wednesday, Nelson also shared a letter of congratulations on thesocial mediasaying, "Congratulations#Indiebeing the fourth country to successfully land a spacecraft on the moon. We are happy to be your partner in this mission!”
India is also a signatory to the US Artemis Accords, a document that outlines proposed rules for future exploration of the moon. Russia and China have not signed the agreements.
CNN's Irene Nasser contributed to this story.