India becomes first nation in history to land on moon's south pole

An Indian spacecraft made history on Wednesday by becoming the first to touch down on the moon's rough, uncharted south pole. The mission's success made India, which wants to be seen on the world stage as a space power, the fourth nation to officially land on the moon.

"This moment is unforgettable. It is phenomenal. This is a victory cry of a new India," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on the landing's success, according to Reuters.

The Indian Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft was in direct competition with the Russian Luna-25 spacecraft to become the first to land on the moon's south pole before its successful landing. However, the Russian spacecraft crashed into the moon's surface on Sunday after it had spun into an uncontrollable orbit, which knocked Russia out of the race. Both spacecraft were projected to land on the moon the same day.

"India is on the moon," S. Somanath proclaimed, the chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

This was India's second attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon and nearly seven million people watched the live stream on YouTube, the outlet reports.

Scientists and government officials clapped, cheered, and hugged one another when the spacecraft touched down on the moon's surface. People all over India started dancing in the streets and setting off firecrackers in celebration.


In a message to Modi that was posted on the Kremlin website, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated India on its victory.

"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," Putin said, according to Reuters.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also congratulated India, and wrote on X, formerly Twitter, "Congratulations ISRO on your successful Chandrayaan-3 lunar South Pole landing! And congratulations to India on being the 4th country to successfully soft-land a spacecraft on the Moon. We’re glad to be your partner on this mission!"

Scientists believe that the lunar south pole holds valuable elements. They say that rocks in its shadowed polar craters might hold frozen water that could be transformed into rocket fuel and air, according to the outlet.

The Chandrayaan-3 is expected to work for two weeks, during which time it will run a number of experiments, such as a spectrometer study of the minerals on the moon's surface.

Somanath told reporters that it will take a few hours or a day for the moon rover to get out of the spacecraft. He also said that the landing has given India the confidence to start planning trips to Mars and Venus.

In addition to India, the United States, China, and the Soviet Union have been the only governments to have had successful moon landings.

Image: Title: India moon landing


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