September 25, 2023

India launches spacecraft in 2nd attempt to land on lunar surface

New Delhi β€” Scientists from India’s space program erupted in joy Friday as a massive rocket lifted off with a bang and ripped through the clouds, carrying an unmanned spacecraft on a mission to land on the dark side of the moon. An LVM3-M4 heavy-lift rocket carried the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, with its lunar module and small rover, away from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, South India, at 2:35 p.m. local time Friday without incident.

According to scientists at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), it was a “textbook launch”, as the rocket successfully launched Chandrayaan-3 into orbit.

Indian space probe Chandrayaan-3, the word for

Indian space probe Chandrayaan-3, the word for

Chandrayaan-3 is the country’s third lunar exploration mission, and scientists are hoping for a soft landing near the moon’s little-explored south pole in the coming months.

It is India’s second attempt to land on the lunar surface. In 2019, India’s second lunar probe, Chandryaan-2, failed, with a heartbreaking crash of his lander on the lunar surface. The Chandrayaan-2 mission’s orbiter is still in lunar orbit and continues to send back data about the moon’s atmosphere today. That information will be used by Chandrayaan-3 in the current mission.

The spacecraft’s journey to the moon should take about 40 days, with the landing attempt on August 23. If the landing succeeds, India will join an elite club that currently consists of only three countries – the United States, Russia and China – that have successfully performed lunar landings.

When the lander lands safely, the rover will explore the lunar surface for one Monday, or about 14 Earth days, to collect scientific data about the composition of our closest celestial body.

“Chandrayaan-3 writes a new chapter in India’s space odyssey. It soars high and elevates the dreams and aspirations of every Indian,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter after the launch. “This momentous achievement is a testament to the unwavering dedication of our scientists. I commend their spirit and ingenuity!”

India’s first mission, 13 years ago, was a huge success, as scientists said their lunar orbiter detected water molecules around the moon’s south pole. It was the first evidence of water there β€” a discovery that startled scientists worldwide and sparked hope for the possibility of sustaining human life on the moon in the future.

India’s lunar missions are seen as a demonstration of the country’s growing space prowess.

ISRO chief Sreedhara Panicker Somanath said the space agency had studied data from the latest crash and used it to improve their lander.

Chandrayaan-3 weighs about 4.3 tons in total. The lander, named Vikram, weighs about 3,300 pounds and carries the rover, named Pragyaan, which weighs less than 60 pounds.

Models and images of India's lunar lander are on display on July 7, 2023 in Bengaluru, India.  India launched its third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, on July 14, 2023, carrying the actual lunar lander, called Vikram, into orbit.  /Credit: Pallava Bagla/Getty

Models and images of the Indian lunar lander are on display on July 7, 2023 in Bengaluru, India. India launched its third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, on July 14, 2023, carrying the actual lunar lander, called Vikram, into orbit. /Credit: Pallava Bagla/Getty

“The rover carries five instruments that focus on discovering the physical features of the moon’s surface, the atmosphere close to the surface and tectonic activity to study what’s going on below the surface,” Somanath said. an Indian news outlet. . “I hope we find something new.”

ISRO said the lander and rover were equipped with sensors and other high-tech instruments designed to conduct experiments and collect data on the chemical composition of lunar soil, measure any seismic activity and measure the thermal properties of the lunar surface near the moon. to measure the south pole. .

Millions of Indians watched the spectacular launch of the rocket live on TV and social media. A lot of described it as “a moment of pride, glory and joy”, while some said they were “goosebumpswatching the rocket take off.

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