Chandrayaan-3’s Soft Landing Beckons New Frontiers for India

Ritika Pathak

, Indian Hour

In a momentous leap for space exploration, India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission achieved a remarkable feat by successfully executing a soft landing on the lunar surface’s challenging South Pole region. The culmination of years of meticulous planning, Chandrayaan-3’s achievement places India at the forefront of lunar exploration and underscores the nation’s technological strength.

“We have achieved soft-landing. India is on the moon. This is the beginning of the golden era,” said ISRO chairman S Somanath amidst applause from scientists and engineers at the operations center in Bengaluru. Chandrayaan-3’s successful soft landing showcases the mission’s technical sophistication and ISRO’s commitment to pushing boundaries.

Crucially, Chandrayaan-3’s target site was the lunar South Pole, a choice that solidified India’s place in history as the only country to achieve this remarkable feat. Previous lunar landings clustered around the equatorial region for safety and operational ease. The South Pole, in contrast, presented formidable challenges: extreme darkness, frigid temperatures plummeting to -230 degrees Celsius, and treacherous terrain riddled with massive craters.

The mission’s significance extends beyond its technological achievement. The uncharted Polar region offers a frozen time capsule, preserving materials that could yield insights into the early solar system’s formation. Previous attempts, like Chandrayaan-2 in 2019, faced setbacks due to both software and hardware issues. Chandrayaan-3 learned from these failures, adopting a “failure-based” design approach to address potential pitfalls.

Enhancements were made across multiple fronts. The lander’s legs were reinforced to ensure stability during landing, even at speeds of 10.8 km/hour. The landing site’s range was broadened, increasing flexibility in target selection. Additional fuel was carried to allow last-minute landing site adjustments. Notably, the lander now boasts solar panels on all sides, ensuring power generation regardless of landing orientation.

Chandrayaan-3’s successful landing hinged on a carefully choreographed sequence of maneuvers. The lander transitioned from high-speed horizontal movement to a vertical descent, comprising rough braking, attitude adjustment, fine braking, and terminal descent phases. Chandrayaan-2’s failure during the attitude adjustment and fine braking phases underscored the mission’s complexity, earning these moments the moniker “15 minutes of terror.”

Beyond the landing itself, the mission’s payloads are of paramount importance. These instruments and experiments relay crucial information to Earth, enabling scientific analysis and discovery. Vikram lander and rover Pragyan carried six payloads collectively. Four scientific payloads on the lander will study lunar quakes, thermal properties, changes in plasma near the surface and measure Earth-Moon distance accurately. A payload from NASA contributes to this endeavor.

The rover Pragyan, having successfully rolled onto the lunar surface, is equipped with two payloads to analyze the chemical and mineral composition of the moon’s terrain, shedding light on its geological history.

India’s accomplishment on the lunar front has wider implications. With the nation’s eyes on the stars, ISRO’s ambitious projects continue to gather momentum. The Aditya-L1 solar observatory mission, set to launch soon, aligns with India’s vision for 2047. Moreover, the potential for a future mission to Venus underscores India’s aspirations to explore beyond the moon.

As the world applauds India’s interstellar achievement, Chandrayaan-3 is a testament to human ingenuity, a symbol of ambition realized against formidable odds. In the annals of space exploration, India’s triumphant soft landing on the moon’s South Pole shines as a badge of progress and a harbinger of even more incredible cosmic journeys.


Leave a Reply