India makes history landing on the Moon's south pole!

India has made history by becoming the first country in the world to successfully land a spacecraft on the Moon’s south pole.

Image: Indian Space Research Organisation

India is now the fourth country to have achieved a lunar landing, following China, the USA and the former Soviet Union.

The Chandrayaan-3 landed on the surface at approximately 13:32 BST on 23 August, to rapturous applause from the team at the Indian Space Research Organisation.  NASA was also one of the first to congratulate India in its success.

The landing on the moon’s south pole is significant as the region’s shadowed craters potentially contain frozen water that could provide insights into past lunar volcanoes and the origins of Earth’s oceans. It would also help make a permanent lunar base for humans a reality as the water could be used for fuel, oxygen and drinking water, enabling astronauts and scientists to work there for extended periods.

Prime minister Narendra Damodardas Modi said after the landing: “This is the efforts of the whole country of India, this is the energy of new India. We have conquered the oceans of difficulties and we have won.”

Chandrayaan-3 is expected to remain functional for two weeks, running a series of experiments, including a spectrometer analysis of the mineral composition of the lunar surface to determine if there is water ice.