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India moon landing: Chandrayaan-3 makes space history


India staked new claim as a national superpower in space on Wednesday, landing its Chandrayaan-3 mission safely on the moon’s unexplored south pole.

The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft launched last month and touched down on the lunar surface around 8:34 a.m. ET.

The feat makes India the fourth country to land on the moon, and the first to land on one of the moon’s lunar poles. Previously, Russia (then the Soviet Union), the U.S. and China landed spacecraft successfully on the moon.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tuned in to the livestream of the landing from Johannesburg, where he is attending the 15th annual BRICS summit.

“All the people of the world, the people of every country and region: India’s successful moon mission is not just India’s alone ... this success belongs to all of humanity,”
“We can all aspire for the moon, and beyond!”


The lunar south pole has emerged as a place of exploration interest thanks to recent discoveries of traces of water ice on the moon. India previously attempted a lunar south pole landing in September 2019, but a software failure caused the Chandrayaan-2 mission to crash into the surface.

″[The south pole is] really a very interesting, historical, scientific and geologic area that a lot of countries are trying to get at that can serve as a base for future exploration,” Wendy Whitman Cobb, professor of strategy and security studies at the U.S. Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.

Whitman Cobb added that the discovery of water on the south pole of the moon is “really important for future exploration,” as it could serve as a source of fuel for rockets and spacecraft.



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