After the Success of Chandrayaan-3, India has set its sights on exploring the Sun and Venus while also planning human missions to space. Chandrayaan-3's triumphant lunar landing marks a significant achievement for ISRO, landing the lander on the Moon's south pole on August 23 at 6:04 pm. This achievement is particularly remarkable as no other country has reached this milestone, with only Russia, America, and China having previously landed on the moon.
While Russia recently attempted a moon mission, it ended in failure, costing over Rs 1600 crores, whereas Chandrayaan-3's mission was accomplished with remarkable economy at just Rs 616 crores, despite a 32 percent budget cut for lunar and solar exploration.
India's previous lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2 in 2019, encountered technical issues during the landing, resulting in contact loss when the lander was 21 kilometers from the lunar surface. This time, ISRO exercised extreme caution, recognizing the critical importance of the last 17 minutes of landing. Chandrayaan-3's lander, Pragyan, has now separated from rover Vikram and is actively exploring the Moon. It's expected to provide invaluable data and insights into the lunar mysteries.
Looking ahead, India's focus turns to understanding the secrets of the Sun with Mission Aditya. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced this mission after Chandrayaan-3's success, emphasizing India's ambition to send humans into space and unravel the mysteries of Venus. Mission Aditya aims to comprehensively study the Sun's activities and their impact on Earth. The mission will deploy state-of-the-art cameras and high-quality sensors on a dedicated satellite.
ISRO's relentless commitment to the success of Chandrayaan-3 was evident as scientists worked tirelessly to ensure its success. The mission's launch on July 14, 2023, included additional sensors and backup systems, guaranteeing mission continuity even in the face of equipment failures.
Chandrayaan-1, launched in 2008, marked India's entry into lunar exploration but was prematurely ended in 2009 due to fuel shortages. It provided vital evidence of water on the lunar surface. Chandrayaan-2, India's subsequent mission, encountered challenges, prompting ISRO to reevaluate its approach.
K. Sivan, former ISRO chairman overseeing Chandrayaan-3, explained that lessons from Chandrayaan-2 were deeply analyzed and corrected to ensure the success of Chandrayaan-3. With a track record of multiple successful missions, ISRO has cemented its position as a global space power, sending a record 104 satellites into space simultaneously. The success of Chandrayaan-3 positions India for significant opportunities in the international space arena.
Chandrayaan-3's mission extends beyond lunar surface exploration, as it will study the Moon's atmosphere and minerals with its powerful cameras. Extensive preparations have been made to ensure sufficient fuel reserves for its 14-day mission, as the Moon's extreme temperature variations pose unique challenges for equipment durability. While the rover and lander may face difficulties in the frigid lunar nights, the mission is poised to unlock a wealth of lunar knowledge in the days ahead.