What scientists had described as “20 minutes of terror” turned out to be a rather smooth affair for Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander as it scripted history and touched down on the south pole of the moon yesterday. ISRO has now given everyone a look at what one of the lander’s cameras saw as it inched ever closer to the lunar surface, carrying a billion hopes on its shoulders.
Posting a video of the historic moments, Isro posted on X (formerly known as Twitter), “Here is how the Lander Imager Camera captured the moon’s image just prior to touchdown.”
The high-resolution video from the imager camera shows the beautiful surface of the moon, pockmarked with craters, as the lander is about to complete its descent.
The last few seconds of the roughly two-minute clip appear to show Vikram slowing down considerably and then touching down on the lunar surface.
India created space history by becoming the first nation to carry out a successful soft-landing near the south pole of the moon. It also entered the elite club of countries – Russia the US and China – which have achieved a soft landing on Earth’s only natural satellite.
The landing was carried out in four stages – rough braking, altitude hold, fine braking and vertical descent – all of which were carried out flawlessly.
After waiting a few hours for the moondust to settle, the Pragyan rover left the Vikram lander and rolled onto the lunar surface. The rover and the lander, which are expected to be operational for 14 Earth days – equal to one lunar day – are carrying six payloads between them.
Speaking to NDTV earlier in the day, ISRO chief S Somanath said, “Entire instrumentation of Chandrayaan-3 is for landing on the south pole or near the south pole. There are a huge amount of scientific possibilities on the south pole. They are related to the presence of water and minerals on the moon.”