India Aims For The Moon As Chandrayaan-3 Attempts Landing

Chandrayaan-3 Landing: The landing – due at 6.04 pm – will be telecast live across the country

New Delhi:
India is keeping its fingers crossed as moon mission Chandrayaan-3 is set to land on the lunar surface this evening. Parties and prayers are being held with equal fervour, with scientists predicting “20 minutes of terror” before the touchdown.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. The landing – due at 6.04 pm – will be telecast live across the country. Schools will be open for the event and space enthusiasts are organising parties in anticipation of the historic moment. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is attending the BRICS summit in South Africa, will join in online. 

  2. The suspense has been ratcheted up by the failure of Russian moon mission Luna-25, which crashed on the moon surface on Sunday during landing. In 2019, the Chandrayaan-2 mission had failed to land safely in the same area, which is full of craters and deep trenches. 

  3. Space agency ISRO has expressed confidence that the landing will take place without a hitch, as the scientists have incorporated all the valuable lessons they learnt from Chandrayaan-2.   

  4. The live telecast of the event will begin at 5.20 pm by the ISRO website, YouTube channel and DD National.  At 6.04 pm, the Vikram lander, carrying the rover Pragyaan, will attempt a soft landing on the moon’s South Pole. 

  5. The location has been chosen with care. The area, which yielded traces of water, is expected hold the key on lunar water ice, which could be a hugely valuable resource. That there is water on the moon’s surface was detected by a NASA instrument aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 probe in 2009. 

  6. The presence of water holds hope for future moon missions – it could be used as a source of drinking water, to cool equipment and broken down to produce oxygen. It can also have clues to the origins of oceans. 

  7. India will be the fourth country to land a rover on moon after Russia, United States and China.   

  8. ISRO on Tuesday said the mission is on schedule and systems are undergoing regular checks. “Smooth sailing is continuing. The Mission Operations Complex (at ISRO) is buzzed with energy and excitement!” ISRO posted on X, formerly Twitter. ISRO also released images of the moon photographed from a height of around 70 km. 

  9. The moon lander was launched on July 14, perched on a LVM 3 heavy-lift launch vehicle. It was placed in the lunar orbit on August 5. The lander Vikram is named after Vikram Sarabhai, who is widely regarded as the father of the Indian space programme. 

  10. After the moon mission, ISRO has a number of projects lined up – one of them a mission to study the Sun, and a human space flight programme, Gaganyaan. Aditya-L1, the first space-based Indian observatory to study the Sun, is getting ready for the launch, most likely in the first week of September.

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