The surface of the moon can be seen beside the leg of a lunar lander The first image of the moon's surface taken by India's Chandrayaan-3 mission after its historic touchdown on Aug. 23, 2023. Image Credit: Isro/X

Bengaluru: India became the first country to land a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole on Wednesday — a historic voyage to uncharted territory that scientists believe could hold vital reserves of frozen water, and a technological triumph for the world’s most populous nation.

ISRO shared pictures from the spacecraft showing the moon’s surface and the leg and shadow of the lander. The first four images were captured by the lander's horizontal velocity camera as it approached the lunar surface.

A later image from the landing imager camera shows a portion of the landing site, including a landing leg and its shadow.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission aims to study the Moon's geology, its water resources, and its potential for future human exploration. Rough terrain makes a south pole landing difficult, but the region's ice could supply fuel, oxygen and drinking water for future missions.

The Chandrayaan-3 is expected to remain functional for two weeks, running a series of experiments including a spectrometer analysis of the mineral composition of the lunar surface.

The moon rover will take a few hours or a day to come out of the spacecraft, Somanath told reporters, adding that the landing has given India confidence to extend its reach to possible voyages to Mars and Venus.

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It is mission to Sun and Venus for ISRO

The successful moon shot on Wednesday has come like a booster shot for the officials of ISRO, which is now gearing up for a mission to the Sun.

The Aditya-L1 spacecraft -- the first space-based Indian observatory to study the Sun -- is at India’s rocket port in Sriharikota and is getting ready for the launch.

ISRO will be sending up its Aditya-L1, a coronagraphy satellite, on a PSLV rocket to study the solar atmosphere towards the end of August or early September.

According to the ISRO, the spacecraft will be placed into a halo orbit around the first Lagrange point, L1, of the Sun-Earth system.

The satellite around the L1 point has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without occultation/eclipses.

The Aditya-L1 satellite -- named after the Sun God -- will be carried by Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

ISRO has also slated a flight to Venus -- Venus Mission -- in 2024. Whether it is going to be a 'Night Flight to Venus' will be known later.