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Chandrayaan 3 soft landing

India has made history as its Moon mission becomes the first to land in the lunar south pole.

With this, India joins an elite club of countries to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, after the US, the former Soviet Union and China.

The Vikram lander from Chandrayaan-3 successfully touched down as planned at 18:04 (IST).

Celebrations have broken out across the country, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying "India is now on the Moon".



"We have reached where no one other country could. It's a joyous occasion, " he added. Mr. Narendra Modi was watching the event line from South Africa where he is attending the BRICS summit.

ISRO Chief Sreedhara Panicker Somanath said "The successful landing is not our work alone, this is the work of a generation of ISRO scientists".

India's achievement comes just day after Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft spun out of control and crashed into the Moon.

The crash also put the spotlight on how difficult it is to land in the south pole region where the surface is "very uneven" and "full of craters and boulders".

India's second lunar mission, which also attempted to soft-land there in 2019, was unsuccessful - its lander and rover were destroyed, though its orbiter survived.

On Wednesday, tense moments preceded the touchdown as the lander - called Vikram after Isro founder Vikram Sarabhai - began its precarious descent, carrying within its belly the 26kg rover named Pragyaan (the Sanskrit word for wisdom).

 The lander's speed was gradually reduced from 1.68km per second to almost zero, enabling it to make a soft landing on the lunar surface.

In a few hours - scientists say once the dust has settled - the six-wheeled rover will crawl out of the lander's belly and roam around the rocks and craters on the Moon's surface, gathering crucial data and images to be sent to Earth.



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