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India Goes to the Moon!

India became the fourth country to land on the Moon and the first to land near the Moon’s south pole.
Department of Space/Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft launched into space on July 14, 2023, and headed for the Moon.

A spacecraft from India has gone where no one has gone before—the Moon’s south pole. The spacecraft (which was not carrying people) landed on the Moon on August 23.

Millions of people across India watched on TV and the Internet as the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft made its landing. When it was clear that the spacecraft had touched ground, viewers erupted in cheers.

Just a few hours later, a vehicle called a lunar rover traveled down a ramp from the spacecraft onto the surface of the Moon. Scientists planned to have the rover explore the Moon for 14 days, studying its surface and sending photos back to Earth.

“India took a walk on the Moon,” said the Indian Space Research Organization, which is India’s space agency.

Children in red polo shirts wave Indian flags as one child holds a model of a spacecraft.

Raj K Raj—Hindustan Times/Getty Images

People across India celebrated after the nation landed a spacecraft on the Moon!

India is only the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the Moon. The other three are the United States, China, and the Soviet Union (which is now Russia). But none of those other countries has ever landed close to the Moon’s south pole. Scientists believe the south pole could hold a store of frozen water that could be used as drinking water or to make rocket fuel during future space missions.

“India is now on the Moon. India has reached the south pole of the Moon—no other country has achieved that. We are witnessing history,” said Narendra Modi, the country’s prime minister (leader).

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Fun Fact

A man draped in white cloth with beads around his neck next to a satellite with data and the word Aryabhata.
© BonkersArt/stock.adobe.com

India has had a space program since the 1960s. Since then, the nation has launched many satellites that have orbited Earth and collected scientific information.

India’s first satellite was called Aryabhata. It was named after a famous Indian mathematician and astronomer who lived in the 5th century.

Living on the Moon?

A satellite with large panels on either side flies above the blue surface of Earth.
©NASA/JPL-Caltech

What’s so special about the lunar south pole (the south pole of the Moon)?

Scientists say the lunar south pole has resources that humans can use, including a good supply of sunlight, which can power spacecraft and other equipment. Scientists also know that there’s ice at the lunar south pole, but they’re not yet sure how large that water supply is.

Scientists plan to build a base camp on the Moon to allow astronauts to stay there for up to two months. They hope the Moon will be a jumping-off point for human exploration of more distant places in space. Maybe people will visit Mars one day!

 

Eyes in the Sky

© bakharev/stock.adobe.com

There are lots of satellites orbiting Earth. Our lives would be very different without them. Why? Learn more at Britannica!

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accomplishment

Part of speech:
noun
Definition:
something done, achieved, or accomplished successfully
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