OPN Chandrayaan
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launches Chandrayaan-3 mission from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, in Sriharikota on July 14, 2023 Image Credit: ANI

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is only a stone’s throw — two days — away from the moon’s mysterious south pole. The moon landing of Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft comes hot on the heels of a Russian landing crash.

In recent days Isro has unveiled dazzling lunar snapshots captured by Chandrayaan-3. It’s a heart-pounding sprint to be the first to claim the lunar south pole’s icy surface, which is thought to harbour life-sustaining water ice.

India’s space agency has released images of the far side of the moon as its third lunar mission attempts to locate a safe landing spot on the little-explored south pole.

The pictures have been taken by Vikram, Chandrayaan-3’s lander, which has started the last phase of its mission.

Chandrayaan-3 has been in a neck-and-neck race with Russia’s efforts, and as the smoke clears from Russia’s Luna-25 mishap, Isro drops the mic — their lander is cruising for a touchdown on August 23. 

OPN Chandrayaan-3
The Vikram lander is on track to execute a gentle touchdown on August 23 at 4:34 PM, UAE time Image Credit: ISRO

Can Chandrayaan-3 write a new chapter?

This isn’t Isro’s first rodeo! Rewind to 2019 when Chandrayaan-2 deployed an orbiter with flair but faltered during the landing act. High-stakes terrain and jaw-dropping craters have posed a daredevil challenge for moon landing.

The scientists at Isro overhauled Chandrayaan-3, juicing it up with more fuel, sleeker solar panels, and sturdy legs. They also cranked up the landing zone flexibility, making it a ‘safe landing in any weather’ extravaganza.

Read more

Chandrayaan-3 is opting for a streamlined approach. A pared-down propulsion module will kick-start the journey by propelling a lander and a rover beyond Earth’s gravitational grip. Once the moon’s gravitational embrace takes hold, it will make a grand entrance into lunar orbit.

Images freshly beamed from the craft showcase moon craters in mesmerising detail, taken by the all-seeing Lander Hazard Detection and Avoidance Camera.

Chandrayaan-3 Landing Tracker The Launch Pad

India’s cosmic potential

The countdown roared to life on July 14 when India’s moon odyssey rocketed off the launch pad, the lander and propulsion modules parted ways.

For India, a triumphant lunar touchdown means not just applause, but a VIP ticket to the space big leagues. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is looking at Chandrayaan-3’s success closely as India rockets near to stardom.

It’s not just about the prestige. India is becoming the fourth moon-landing maestro alongside the US, ex-USSR, and China.

Chandrayaan-3 is poised to rewrite history with a stunning comeback and unleash India’s cosmic potential.