Maithri Educational & Charitable Trust

The following article has been contributed by Nandana Gopal. Nandana provided the following introduction about herself. The opinions and expressions below are the author's own.

My name is Nandana Gopal. I am 15 years old and I am attending my 10th year of schooling at Denmark High School in the suburban area of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I enjoy writing and this is an article that I wrote about the Chandrayaan-3 launch.

Chandrayaan-3 Moon Landing

In all the years of countries voyaging to the moon, none have ever reached the moon's south pole. That changed on August 23, 2023, when India's ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) successfully landed Chandrayaan-3's rover, Pragyan, 70 degrees south of the lunar equator. This achievement places India among the four countries that have landed a rover on the moon, the others being the United States of America, China, and Russia. Remarkably, this endeavor was accomplished at a cost of only 6.17 billion rupees (approximately $75 million), significantly less than the billions spent by the USA.

Chandrayaan-3 is the third mission in the Chandrayaan program, which focuses on lunar exploration. The first mission successfully entered the moon's orbit in 2008 and contributed to our understanding of the moon through photomapping. Chandrayaan-2's mission in 2019, however, ended in failure as it did not achieve a soft landing on the moon. Communication issues during the rover's descent led to a crash on the moon's surface. Chandrayaan-2's setback makes Chandrayaan-3 even more remarkable and awe-inspiring.

Despite spending less than two weeks on the moon, Pragyan has already reported findings of multiple elements, including sulfur, aluminum, iron, chromium, titanium, and silicon. The ISRO has stated that the rover will also search for signs of frozen water and monitor the moon's atmosphere and seismic activity. The lunar rover's wheels bear India's national emblem—the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka—and the ISRO's logo. As Pragyan explores the moon, these symbols will be etched into the lunar surface, with the ISRO hoping they will remain visible for decades.

This incredible feat was streamed live to an audience of over 7.5 million people on YouTube and live broadcasts on Indian television platforms, but the people of the Namakkal district in Tamil Nadu, India, are celebrating for an even more special reason. The mud and stones of Namakkal share many qualities with those found on the moon. These resources have been supporting ISRO's missions since 2012. Pragyan's landing has confirmed that the stones and mud are remarkably similar to those on the southern pole of the moon. Chandrayaan-3 is not only a cause for national celebration but has also elevated India's standing in the world by venturing into new realms of space exploration. The world eagerly anticipates what contributions this country will bring to the table in the years to come.

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