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Chandrayaan-3 mission; exploration to the south pole of the Moon

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Chandrayaan-3 mission: India's program to explore the Moon's south pole

India launched its third lunar exploration mission on July 14, 2023, Chandrayaan-3with the objective of performing a soft and controlled landing on the surface of the Moon and deploying a rover.

This is a new attempt after the failure of Chandrayaan-2 in 2019, which crashed while attempting to land on the moon.

What is Chandrayaan-3?

Chandrayaan-3 (meaning "lunar vehicle" in Sanskrit) is a mission developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

It consists of a lander, a propulsion module and a rover called Pragyan.

The propulsion module is responsible for carrying the spacecraft to a 100 km lunar orbit and acts as a communications relay satellite.

The lander and Rover separate from the lander and descend to the lunar surface.

What is the objective of the mission?

The mission has three main objectives:

  • Achieve a safe and soft lander and a perfect landing on the surface of the Moon.
  • Observe and demonstrate the rover's loiter capabilities on the Moon.
  • Scientifically observe in situ the lunar environment, especially the south polar region, where water ice and other resources are believed to be present.

When and where will it land?

The mission lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, on July 14, 2023 at 14:35 local time (9:05 UTC).

The lander and rover are expected to land on August 23, 2023 at 12:17 UTC near the difficult terrain of the unexplored lunar south pole, between the craters Manzinus and Simpelius.

What is the importance of this mission for India?

India aims to become the fourth country to make a controlled landing on the Moon, after the United States, Russia and China.

Its space program dates back more than six decades and has achieved important milestones, such as sending a probe to Mars or launching more than 100 satellites on a single rocket.

With this mission, India wants to demonstrate its technological and scientific capabilities, as well as contribute to the knowledge of the Earth's natural satellite.