India successfully attempted to land LVM3-M4/Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon’s South Pole on 23 August 2023 at 6:03 pm IST

India's LVM3-M4 lifts off carrying the Chandrayaan-3 lander from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, India, July 14, 2023
India’s LVM3-M4 lifts off carrying the Chandrayaan-3 lander from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, India, July 14, 2023. MeelBijendra/Nandini

BENGALURU, Aug 23 (MeelBijendra) – On Wednesday, 23 August 2023, at 6:03 pm IST, India successfully attempted LVM3-M4/Chandrayaan-3 to land on the Moon and is considered significant for its exploration of the Moon and establishing the country as a space power.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched the spacecraft Chandrayaan-3 on 14 July 2023 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, India. India has become the first country to land a spacecraft on the South Pole of the Moon after the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 and also the fourth country after the US, Russia, and China to land a spacecraft on the Moon.

India launched the Chandrayaan-1 impact mission on 22 October 2008, which for the first time brought strong evidence that water existed on the Moon’s south pole region.

Impact mission means that the mission is an extension of the orbiter mission (spacecraft approaches the Moon and orbits the Moon – called the lunar orbit) and the main spacecraft continues to orbit around the moon but a part of the spacecraft gets separated and crashes on the moon (Moon Impact Probe).

In 2019, ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 mission successfully deployed an orbiter and if the mission had gone according to plan, the Vikram lander was prepared for a soft landing on the Moon with a rover named Pragyan but on 6 September 2019, its Vikram lander crashed during the soft landing.

After some time the officials claimed that the Chandrayaan-2 crash was due to a software glitch. When the Vikram lander was landing on the moon, it was about 2 km above the surface, since then it deviated from its path and when it was about 335 meters above the surface, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) lost contact, officials further said.

Chandrayaan-2 mission is considered half successful as the orbiter sent on Chandrayaan-2 is still working. ISRO launched Chandrayaan-3 on 14 July 2023 and made a lot of modifications to reduce the risk as the rough terrain makes landing at the South Pole difficult.

ISRO made modifications such as the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft being able to land anywhere in an area of 4 km x 2.4 km which is almost 40 times larger than the Chandrayaan-2 time and stay above the surface for longer and find the right landing site and more solar cells have been installed on it and the sensors have been improved – rover weighs 26 kg and the Vikram lander weighs 1,750 kg.

After Chandrayaan-3’s rover lands on the Moon, it will get only one lunar day to conduct its scientific experiments. One lunar day is approximately equal to one month on Earth.