India is heading to the Moon

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Russia crying, India laughing. Four days after the failure of Luna 25, the Indian probe Chandrayaan 3 landed on the night star, near the south pole. She then deployed a small rover.

World premiere

Shipped on July 14 using a heavy launcher LVM3-M2 implemented on the barrier island of Sriharikota (located on the eastern coast of India), the probe Chandrayaan 3 landed successfully on the Moon six weeks later, on August 23 at 12:32 UTC.

The Republic ofIndiaby succeeding in its second attempt (the first, unsuccessful, dates back to September 2019), became the fourth world power to land gently on our natural satellite, after the USSR, the United States and China.

With Chandrayaan 3, it is also the first time in history that a probe has managed to land near the South Pole of the star.

Two week mission

Built by theisrothe Indian space agency, the Chandrayaan 3 probe is the perfect replica of the ill-fated Chandrayaan 2 mission, minus the orbiter: it includes A landerbaptized vikram (in memory of Professor Vikram Sarabhai, founding father of the Indian space program), and a small mobile exploration robot, Pragyan (Wisdom).

Both are equipped with solar panels and cameras, and carry scientific instruments for the study of the lunar soil.

As the components of the lander and the rover are not designed to withstand the low temperatures of the lunar night nor to operate without solar energy, the Chandrayaan 3 mission should only last one lunar day, i.e. say 14 Earth days.

First laps and first measurements

THE first attempts of Pragyan intervened the day after the moon landing of Chandrayaan 3.

On the fourth day of the mission, the little robot took the temperature of the ground, and sent rather disconcerting results, because they were much higher than expected: the temperatures recorded varied between -10 degrees and +60 degrees Celsius. .

In the big leagues

The success of Chandrayaan 3 confirms India’s position as the world’s fourth space power, which this year ranks behind the United States, China and Russia in terms of the number of orbital launches… and ahead of Europe.

Isro has particularly stood out in recent months by deploying two batches of 36 satellites from the Indo-British constellation into low orbit. OneWeb dedicated to theglobal internet.

Next year, India could even become the fourth nation able to send men into space…

The resonance of the exploit of Chandrayaan 3 is all the more important as it occurs four days after the crash in the same region of the Russian lunar probe Luna 25, which aimed to restore the image of the post-Soviet Russian space program.

John Walker Avatar