Chandrayaan 3 Moon Landing Triumph: India’s Global Recognition

India has joined the ranks of the top four countries — the United States, Russia, and China — in possessing a rover on the lunar surface. The Indian rover successfully touched down on the southern pole of the Moon, a location where the Indian Space Research Organisation speculates the presence of water deposits. This accomplishment has not only brought jubilation to India but has also garnered applause from the international space community. The global media has duly acknowledged this remarkable feat, lauding the dedication of our scientists and their relentless efforts.

India’s aspirations for space exploration, whether involving moon rover landings or Mars missions, have consistently encountered skepticism and doubtful glances from individuals worldwide. Not too far in the past, the New York Times had lampooned India’s Mars mission through a cartoon strip portraying a farmer with a cow rapping at the door of an establishment named the “Elite Space Club,” within which two men were depicted casually reading a newspaper regarding India’s achievement. More recently, a BBC correspondent raised concerns about India’s allocation of funds to a space program, questioning its appropriateness as a developing nation where a significant portion of the population still lacks access to fundamental necessities like sanitation facilities.

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However, ISRO defied skepticism when the Mangalyaan robotic probe was launched from the Sriharikota spaceport on the Bay of Bengal coast on November 5, 2013. It achieved orbit around Mars with a mere budget of Rs 4.5 Billion ($74 million), marking one of the most budget-efficient interplanetary space missions ever undertaken.

Yet again, India is being acclaimed for its remarkable achievement in landing a rover on the lunar surface. While the equatorial regions are commonly favored for rover landings, India opted for a more challenging terrain due to its potential significance in water research, rendering this landing even more extraordinary.

Commending India’s endeavor, the New York Times cited Prof Martin Barstow, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Space Park Leicester, who stated, “Knowing that it can be done doesn’t make it easy. Landing at the poles is much more difficult than landing at the equator. You’ve got to get into a polar orbit to release the lander and nobody has done that before. The US hasn’t landed anything at the poles on the moon.”

Prof Andrew Coates at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory also emphasized that, “Following their earlier successful orbiters to the moon and Mars, this cements their (ISRO’s) position as one of the key spacefaring nations and is an impressive scientific and engineering achievement.”

Meanwhile, The Guardian highlighted that this mission would aid India in “expanding its share of the global launch market fivefold over the next decade.” India is projected to be recognized as a cost-effective provider of space launch services, as the global space launch market is anticipated to grow from $9 billion this year to over $20 billion by 2030, creating substantial demand where India’s cost-efficiency could play a pivotal role.

Beyond media and experts, world leaders also took time to celebrate India’s victory. President Vladimir Putin described the moon landing as an “impressive” accomplishment, arriving just days after Moscow’s own lunar mission crash-landed at the South Pole. A statement from the Kremlin affirmed, “This is a significant advancement in space exploration and a testament to India’s impressive progress in the field of science and technology.”

The US Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs asserted that India’s triumph in lunar landing will fuel the “imagination” of future generations. One crucial factor is the cost-effectiveness of the soft landing, which could make similar feats attainable for numerous other countries across the globe.

Describing India’s moon landing as an “extraordinary” occurrence, Josef Aschbacher, the Director General of the European Space Agency, remarked, “What an impressive manner to showcase novel technologies and realize India’s inaugural gentle touchdown on a different celestial entity.”

The lunar landing received extensive coverage in The Washington Post, along with enthusiastic commentary applauding this historic event. Deputy Opinion Editor David Von Drehle stated, “India’s space program has achieved something marvelous — a moment that carries geopolitical significance.” He referred to the Russian mission that intended to land in the same region but ended in failure, comparing it to “a decisive blow to Russia’s decline, like a hammer striking the final nail in the coffin.”

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal marked the occasion with a headline declaring, “‘India Is on the Moon’: Chandrayaan-3 Spacecraft Lands on Lunar South Pole.”

Amid the jubilation, some are pondering what lies ahead for the mission as the rover embarks on its journey across the lunar surface, collecting vital data for forthcoming manned or unmanned moon missions. Additionally, this data will prove invaluable in locating potential water sources on the celestial body, a resource that could be essential for future human settlements.

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