India etched themselves into the history books as they became the first country to successfully land a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole region.
Chandrayaan-3 made a soft landing on the lunar surface at 6.04 PM IST on August 23 following a 40-day journey, starting from the Sathish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Countless Indians remained riveted to their television screens and mobile devices, eagerly following the live broadcast of the landing. As news of the successful outcome spread, a tangible wave of euphoria and national pride swept the country.
Inside the ISRO headquarters, scientists exchanged heartfelt embraces, their faces adorned with smiles as they rejoiced and danced in celebration.
This lunar landing marked a monumental milestone, making India the fourth nation to accomplish such a feat, and it’s expected that the mission could cement its status as a global superpower in space.
Previously, only the United States, China and the former Soviet Union have completed soft landings on the lunar surface.
The moment caught the attention of the world. Muscle and Health examines the best reactions from across the globe.
South-Side of the Moon
The Moon’s South Pole has garnered increased attention from the scientific community owing to recent revelations about the presence of water ice.
In 2019, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) embarked on the Chandrayaan-2 mission, aiming to land at the lunar South Pole region. However, a software glitch led to a crash landing on the moon, hampering their efforts.
Before the anticipated landing of Chandrayaan-3 lunar orbit, Russia rejoined the quest for its own lunar mission after almost half a century. Sadly, their Luna-25 mission ended in a crash landing on the lunar surface, underscoring the challenges and risks of venturing into uncharted lunar territory.
Following a monumental moment for India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the scientists and said,
“No country has reached the South Pole of the Moon before. With the hard work of our scientists, we have reached there. India’s successful Moon mission is not just India’s alone…This success belongs to all of humanity. When we see such historic moments, it makes us very proud. This is the dawn of new India.“
Chandrayaan-3 breaks world streaming record
Before Chandrayaan-3 etched its historic mark on the lunar surface, it had already begun setting remarkable records on Earth.
A staggering 5.6 million viewers worldwide converged on ISRO’s official YouTube channel at 5:53 PM IST, surpassing the previous live stream record of 3.4 million viewers held by Ibai.
As space enthusiasts spanning the globe awaited with bated breath for the Vikram Lander Module’s descent onto and near the Moon’s south pole at 6:04 PM on Wednesday, August 23, the digital realm buzzed with the excitement of this unprecedented achievement.
By the time Chandrayaan-3 gracefully touched down, an astounding 8 million viewers had joined the virtual spectacle, marking the zenith of YouTube’s live-streaming history in peak viewership. This event showcased India’s prowess in space exploration and underscored the nation’s significant digital impact.
Putin and Russia humble after setback
President Vladimir Putin called the Moon landing an “impressive” achievement days after Moscow’s mission crashed.
The unmanned Luna-25 spacecraft was Russia’s first mission to the Moon in 47 years. Launched on Friday, August 11, it was in a race with India’s Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander to reach the lunar south pole.
It was due to execute a soft landing on Monday but fell into an uncontrollable descent before colliding with the surface of the Moon.
“This is a big step forward in space exploration and, of course, a testament to the impressive progress made by India in the field of science and technology,” read a statement from the Kremlin following the crash.
The setback of this mission vividly underscores Russia’s waning prominence as a space powerhouse, a far cry from its stature during the era of the initial space rivalry with the United States throughout the Cold War.
In those historic days, Moscow was at the forefront, launching the first-ever satellite to orbit the Earth, Sputnik 1, back in 1957. Furthermore, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin etched his name in history as the pioneer to venture into space in 1961.
USA and NASA acknowledge significant achievement
The US Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs has emphasized that the triumph of Chandrayaan-3 will ignite the “imagination” of future generations.
— U.S. Department of State | Science Diplomacy USA (@SciDiplomacyUSA) August 23, 2023
The department shared on X (formerly known as Twitter), expressing, “Your success will ignite the imagination and illuminate the prospects of people globally.”
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also commended an “epochal landing.”
Retired NASA astronaut Leroy Chow described the soft landing as a “big accomplishment” during an interview with CBS before speaking about the USA’s goal of sending astronauts to the Moon in 2025.
Surprise at low-cost landing success
What sets India’s spacecraft on the moon landing apart is its accomplished feat on a relatively modest budget, especially compared to governmental standards.
Reportedly, India’s moon mission was achieved with a budget of approximately $75 million (£59 million) – roughly half the cost of the 2014 Hollywood space spectacle Interstellar.
In contrast, Russia’s unsuccessful Luna-25 mission is estimated to have incurred at least $130 million (£102 million). In comparison, NASA’s ambitious Artemis moon program in the United States will consume around $93 billion (£73 billion) by 2025.
India’s preceding mission, Chandrayaan-2, conducted in 2019, was carried out for $96.5 million (£76 million) – despite its unfortunate crash into the Moon’s surface. However, this mission did succeed in deploying an orbiter that continues to orbit the Moon.
World leaders react
Prime Minister and essential figures from worldwide united in delight following India’s global recognition.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “This for us, as the BRICS family, is a momentous occasion, and we rejoice with you. We join you in the joy of this great achievement,” referring to the BRICS coalition of economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal lauded the lunar landing as a moment of great historical significance. He congratulated the dedicated ISRO team for the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the lunar surface. He acknowledged this remarkable feat as an unprecedented science and space technology achievement.
Over in Europe, Josef Aschbacher, the director general of the European Space Agency, characterized the Chandrayaan-3 lunar landing as an “astounding” occurrence.
He praised the achievement as a remarkable showcase of innovative technologies and India’s inaugural successful soft landing on a celestial body. He extended his commendations, stating, “Well done,” and expressed his amazement at the accomplishment.
What Lies Ahead After the Lunar Touchdown?
Following the successful landing of the Vikram Module on the lunar surface, a meticulously outlined plan comes into play. An initial comprehensive systems check and diagnostics will be executed to verify the module’s operational effectiveness.
Afterward, preparations will commence for the Pragyaan Rover’s mission to explore the Moon’s terrain. With a mission span of 14 days, the rover will diligently survey the lunar landscape for valuable resources like water ice and helium-3, along with other essential elements.
The Significance of the Chandrayaan-3 Mission
The Chandrayaan-3 mission carries profound implications for India and the global community. One of its primary goals is to evaluate the viability of establishing a launch station on the Moon, a crucial milestone for future interplanetary endeavors.
The mission’s insights could be a cornerstone of our clean energy ambitions. Helium-3 (He-3), the moon craft a potential source of nearly boundless clean energy, is a pivotal focus of Chandrayaan-3’s investigations. Its presence on the Moon holds the power to revolutionize our global clean energy initiatives, potentially casting the Moon as an indispensable partner in our quest for sustainable energy solutions.
As Chandrayaan-3 inches closer to its decisive moment on the lunar surface, its far-reaching impact on Earth becomes unmistakably clear. From shattering streaming records to promising a greener energy future, its significance is profound.
This endeavor signifies a monumental stride for India and a giant leap for humanity.