India’s Chandrayaan-3 has landed near the Moon’s south pole. The successful Moon mission has made India the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the lunar surface after the US, China, and the erstwhile Soviet Union, and the first to land a craft near the Moon’s south pole.
The lander Vikram captured several images of the lunar surface during the power descent. The images show a portion of the landing site, the lander’s metal leg and its shadow.
The rover Pragyan rolled out from the lander some hours after the successful touchdown.
India became the first nation to land a craft near the Moon’s South Pole, a historic triumph for the nation and the world.
The unmanned Chandrayaan-3 touched down at 6:04 pm as mission control technicians cheered wildly and embraced their colleagues.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a live broadcast also announced the mission’s success as a triumph that extended beyond India’s borders. “On this joyous occasion I would like to address the people of the world,” said PM Modi from the sidelines of the BRICS diplomatic summit in South Africa. “India’s successful moon mission is not just India’s alone,” he added. “This success belongs to all of humanity.”
The Chandrayaan-3 mission has captivated public attention since launching nearly six weeks ago in front of thousands of cheering spectators.
The lander Vikram detached from its propulsion module last week and has been sending images of the Moon’s surface since entering lunar orbit on August 5. Now that Vikram has landed, the solar-powered rover Pragyan will explore the surface and transmit data to Earth.
India is closing in on milestones set by global space powers such as the US and Russia, conducting many of its missions at much lower price tags.