World hails India’s spectacular moon landing feat

Bengaluru: Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Scientists celebrate as third lunar mission Chandrayaan-3 successfully touches down on the Moon’s surface, at the ISRO headquarters, in Bengaluru, on Wednesday, August 23, 2023. (Photo: IANS/Youtube/ISRO Official: Video Grab)

TN Ashok

Washington, Aug 23 (IANS) The European Space Agency (ESA) on Wednesday congratulated India on the spectacular feat of landing Chandrayaan-3 on the South Pole of the moon, often called the ‘dark side’, as the event garnered global coverage by every news network in the world.

The world hailed India as it became only the fourth country to land a spacecraft on moon after the US, Russia and China, and the first to land on South Pole. 

The ESA wrote on X (formerly Twitter), “Congratulations ISRO & team”, an hour after confirming the soft landing on the moon and the pictures relayed by Chandrayan-3 from approach to descent.

X was filled with comments from joyous Indians and private scientific institutions associated with the space industry in the US. Four million Indians in the US woke up to the joyous news and feat achieved by only three mighty nations of the world before it.

USA Today, which claims to be number one in circulation in the US, reported the event thus: “Chandrayaan-3 successfully landed on the moon Wednesday, etching India into history as the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the lunar surface.”

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched Chandrayaan-3 over a month ago with the goal of landing near the lunar South Pole, where it made a soft landing on Wednesday.

The mission marks the first landing of any country near the South Pole and the first lunar landing for India. 

A British news agency hailed the event saying: “The Chandrayaan-3 is aimed at the lunar South Pole, a region with water ice, or frozen water that could be a source of oxygen, fuel and water for future moon missions or a more permanent moon colony.”

The Chandrayaan-3 is expected to remain functional for two weeks, running a series of experiments including a spectrometer analysis of the mineral composition of the lunar surface.

The Chandrayaan-3 lander stands about 2 metres tall and has a mass of just over 1,700 kg, roughly on par with an SUV. It is designed to deploy a smaller, 26-kg lunar rover.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that the US space agency was “looking forward” to what would be learnt from the Indian mission.

The BBC, national broadcaster of the UK, hailed the event with the headline “India creates history by landing Chandrayaan 3 near the South Pole”.

The moon’s south pole, according to NASA, is full of “mystery, science and intrigue”. There are deep craters which have been shielded from sunlight for billions of years, where temperatures can plummet to astonishing lows of -248C (-414F).

Water is one key reason why scientists want to explore the area around the lunar south pole. Scientists believe frozen water might have accumulated in cold polar regions over millions of years and could provide a unique sample for scientists to analyse and understand the history of water in our solar system.

An American news agency hailed the event with the caption: “India lands a spacecraft near the moon’s South Pole, a first for the world as it joins the elite club.”

The agency went on to say: “India on Wednesday made history as it became the first country in the world to land its spacecraft near the moon’s South Pole, an uncharted territory that scientists believe could hold vital reserves of frozen water, and the fourth country to achieve a moon landing.”

US’ leading news network Cable News Network (CNN) hailed the Indian moon landing saying: “See striking moon photos captured by India’s lunar lander during its approach.”

Verge, a noted space website, praised India saying: “India makes space travel history by landing Chandrayaan 3 on the south pole of the moon. The lunar mission of India  has made space travel history today by successfully achieving a soft landing near the South Pole of Earth’s moon, just days after Russia’s Luna 25 spacecraft  crashed while trying to land in the same region. India is now the fourth nation to achieve a soft moon landing and the first to have successfully touched down on the lunar South Pole — a little-explored area of the moon that’s believed to contain water ice.”

It said Indians lunar craft Vikram landed near the same spot where Russias Luna 25 crash landed.

Another prominent news network in the Middle East, Al Jazeera, also hailed the event saying: “Chandrayaan-3 makes space history. India successfully lands spacecraft near the moon’s South Pole, making it the first country to do so. Indian PM (Narendra) Modi says mission’s success ‘belongs to all of humanity’.”

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