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In a momentous achievement for India’s space endeavors, a lunar rover smoothly descended a ramp from its lander onto the moon’s surface near the southern pole, as confirmed by Indian space officials on Thursday. The event was met with nationwide celebrations, marking a significant stride in India’s scientific progress.

India’s lunar rover on the moon

India’s lunar rover on the moon

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the state-run space agency, proudly announced, “India took a walk on the moon,” detailing that the Chandrayan-3 Rover is set to embark on a series of experiments spanning 14 days. Among its tasks is a comprehensive analysis of the mineral composition of the lunar terrain.

Across the world’s most populous nation, people gathered around screens in offices, shops, and eateries on Wednesday, erupting into applause, dance, and sweet exchanges upon witnessing the lander’s seamless touchdown. This monumental achievement reached unexplored territory that holds potential reserves of frozen water, as theorized by scientists.

Headlines across Indian newspapers reflected the nation’s elation: “India Ventures Beyond Frontiers Unseen” declared The Times of India, while the Indian Express exclaimed, “The Moon Embraces India.”

Ajay Bhargava, an architect based in New Delhi, shared his exhilaration, describing the televised landing as an incredible experience. He emphasized that this accomplishment stands as the culmination of dedicated efforts by India’s scientists spanning several years. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi or any other political figure shouldn’t seek credit for this triumph,” Bhargava emphasized in a phone interview.

S. Somnath, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, reported that the lander touched down remarkably close to the designated center within the 4.5-kilometer-wide target area. “Within 300 meters (985 feet) of that point,” he affirmed, according to the Press Trust of India.

With the rover already operational and functioning “exceedingly well,” Somnath outlined the array of scientific instruments onboard. Two are installed within the rover, while three are integrated into the lander, all of which have been systematically activated. “Their mission encompasses the study of the moon’s mineral composition, its atmosphere, and seismic activities,” Somnath elaborated.

Following an unsuccessful lunar landing attempt in 2019, India has now joined the exclusive ranks of the United States, the Soviet Union, and China as the fourth nation to achieve this milestone. The successful mission underlines India’s burgeoning stature as a technological and space powerhouse, aligning with the image Prime Minister Modi aims to project—an ascending nation asserting its prominence on the global stage.

The mission, executed at an estimated cost of €69.39 million, began over a month ago. Somnath revealed that India’s next endeavor will involve a manned lunar mission.

The allure of the moon’s South Pole region, believed to house permanently shadowed craters containing frozen water, has captivated numerous countries and private enterprises. This resource holds potential significance for future astronaut missions, serving as a potential source of drinking water or even rocket fuel.


India’s achievement comes shortly after Russia’s Luna-25, with similar lunar aspirations, encountered an uncontrollable orbit leading to a crash. This mishap marked Russia’s failed attempt at a lunar landing after a 47-year hiatus. The head of Russia’s state-controlled space agency, Roscosmos, attributed the failure to a lack of expertise resulting from the extended gap in lunar exploration since the last Soviet moon mission in 1976.

With a space legacy dating back to the 1960s, India has successfully launched satellites for both domestic and international purposes, including an impressive orbit around Mars in 2014. Notably, India is gearing up for its inaugural mission to the International Space Station in collaboration with the United States, scheduled for the upcoming year.