CHANDRAYAAN-3. This Wednesday, August 23, 2023, India achieved what no mission has achieved before by landing a probe at the South Pole of the Moon, becoming the 4th nation to land on our natural satellite! We tell you all about this historic event.

[Updated Aug 23, 2023 3:11 PM] Just three days after the Russian Luna 25 probe crashed on the Moon, the Chandrayaan-3 space probe helped India win the race to the lunar south pole. The Indian lunar mission managed to deliver a lander and a small rover to the surface of the Moon this Wednesday, August 23 at 2:34 p.m.

A region less explored than the North Pole, the South Pole of the Moon would house water in the form of ice, an essential resource for setting up a permanent base on the star. After the Russian failure, India marks a great blow by becoming the 4th nation to land on the Moon and the first to achieve the feat of doing so on the rugged area that is the South Pole.

For the landing of the Chandrayaan-3 probe, ISRO has selected a site that lies between the craters Manzinus C and Simpelius N. This place is located not far from the South Pole of the Moon, a very rugged region dotted with craters and reliefs where the maneuver is particularly difficult to carry out. Before reaching its landing zone, the probe made several orbits around the Moon and then began its descent.

As the space probe circled the moon before landing, Chandrayaan-3 captured a series of snapshots released by the Indian space agency using its on-board camera. We can see the hidden face of the Moon and its many craters:

Chandrayaan-3 is a space probe designed by the Indian space agency, ISRO, which was launched on July 14, 2023. Consisting of a lander that landed smoothly on the surface of the Moon and a a rover that descended from the landing module using an inclined ramp, this probe must meet several objectives and mark the entry of India among the nations to have landed a craft on the Moon.

To carry out its mission, the Chandrayaan-3 probe embarks various instruments. The lander is notably equipped with a camera, a seismometer which studies the core of the Moon as well as several tools allowing it to carry out certain measurements at the level of the ground and the lunar atmosphere. For its part, the rover has two spectroscopes which study the chemical nature of the lunar soil as well as several cameras. This probe succeeds Chandrayaan-2 which crashed on the surface of the Moon in July 2019.

Chandrayaan-3 is on a two-week mission to the lunar surface. On the one hand, the lander named Vikram must study the surface of the Moon, its seismic and thermal characteristics, its geology as well as the gases that make up its thin atmosphere. On the other hand, the Pragyan rover focuses its efforts on studying the composition of the soil from a chemical and mineralogical point of view.

Finally, the Chandrayaan-3 mission is of strategic importance since it is India’s first lunar mission and has enabled this country to become the 4th nation to land a probe on our natural satellite. It thus joins the United States, Russia and China in the very private circle of powers that have landed on the Moon.