India has made history as its Moon mission becomes the first to land in the lunar south pole region.
With this, India joins an elite club of countries to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, after the US, the former Soviet Union and China. The Vikram lander from Chandrayaan-3 successfully touched down as planned at 18:04 local time (12:34 GMT).
Celebrations have broken out across the country, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying “India is now on the Moon”. “We have reached where no other country could. It’s a joyous occasion,” he added. Mr Modi was watching the event live from South Africa where he is attending the Brics summit.
Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chief Sreedhara Panicker Somanath said the successful landing “is not our work alone, this is the work of a generation of Isro scientists”. India’s achievement comes just days after Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft spun out of control and crashed into the Moon.
The crash also put the spotlight on how difficult it is to land in the south pole region where the surface is “very uneven” and “full of craters and boulders”. India’s second lunar mission, which also attempted to soft-land there in 2019, was unsuccessful – its lander and rover were destroyed, though its orbiter survived.
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