Yesterday, India’s lunar lander Vikram (“valor”) successfully soft-landed on the moon. This was India’s second attempt at landing on the moon after an unsuccessful attempt in 2019.
With this achievement, India becomes the first nation to softly land at the moon’s south pole and the fourth nation overall, after the USA, Soviet Union, and China, to achieve a soft moon landing.
Vikram was part of India’s lunar mission Chandrayaan-3, which also included the small rover Pragyan (“wisdom”) as well as an orbiter now in lunar orbit. Pragyan is expected to roll off Vikram soon to study the landing site for about 14 days.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a statement after the successful landing:
This success belongs to all of humanity and it will help moon missions by other countries in the future. I’m confident that all countries in the world, including those from the global south, are capable of capturing success. We can all aspire to the moon and beyond.
During the past weekend, Russia also attempted a soft landing at the moon’s south pole. However, it didn’t go quite as well, and their lunar lander Luna 25 instead crash-landed on the moon’s surface.