Kathmandu: India has made history as its Moon mission becomes the first to land in the lunar south pole region.
With this, India joins an elite club of countries to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, after the US, the former Soviet Union and China.
The Vikram lander from Chandrayaan-3 successfully touched down as planned at 18:04 local time (12:34 GMT).
Celebrations have broken out across the country, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying “India is now on the Moon”.
India’s achievement comes just days after Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft spun out of control and crashed into the Moon.
The crash also put the spotlight on how difficult it is to land in the south pole region where the surface is “very uneven” and “full of craters and boulders”.
India’s second lunar mission, which also attempted to soft-land there in 2019, was unsuccessful – its lander and rover were destroyed, though its orbiter survived.
One of the mission’s major goals is to hunt for water-based ice which, scientists say, could support human habitation on the Moon in future.
It could also be used for supplying propellant for spacecraft headed to Mars and other distant destinations.
Scientists say the surface area that remains in permanent shadow there is huge and could hold reserves of water ice.
The lander and the rover are carrying five scientific instruments which will help discover the physical characteristics of the surface of the Moon, the atmosphere close to the surface and the tectonic activity to study what goes on below the surface.
(News Source: BBC)