It took a few attempts, but India became the first nation to land a spacecraft at the Moon’s southern pole. Further, the Chandrayaan-3 rover is now out and moving around, exploring this vast expanse of our lunar satellite.
After landing on the Moon on August 23, the rover took its first few steps onto the lunar surface a few days later. Almost a week later, the rover has managed to travel quite a distance away from the spacecraft that brought it to our moon, even coming across a four-meter-diameter crater that it had to avoid by retracing its steps.
The landing point of the Chandrayaan-3 mission is a critical location for the exploration of our moon. Known as Shiv Shakti Point, this location will no doubt be the base point of a lot of our lunar exploration going forward, especially as more spacecraft missions like NASA’s Artemis III plan to put human boots back on the surface of our satellite.
As the Chandrayaan-3 rover explores the moon, it will hopefully learn more about the southern pole, including whether or not there are any special targets that future ISRO missions should focus on. But this mission is critical for more than just its historical significance on a national level.
Getting a rover successfully onto the moon, especially in this particular region, is key to learning more about the place we plan to put humans within the next decade. By exploring the southern pole and getting actual eyes on things, the ISRO and other space agencies can use the gathered data to plan landing points for future missions.
We’ve seen how much data rover missions like the Chandrayaan-3 rover can teach us about cosmic entities. NASA’s Perseverance has already taught us a lot about the history of Mars, and if the Mars Sample return does prove successful years from now, we’ll finally get a chance to study Martian rocks more closely, too.