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India’s Chandrayaan-3 Moon Landing: A Bold Leap Towards Lunar Exploration

In just a few hours, India’s Chandrayaan-3 is set to attempt a historic soft landing on the moon’s southern pole. If successful, India will join an elite group of countries, including the US, China, and the former Soviet Union, in achieving this remarkable feat. The critical moment for the mission lies in the final 15 to 20 minutes, during which the Vikram lander, carrying the rover Pragyan, will gently touch down.

The excitement surrounding this lunar touchdown is palpable, with celebrations and prayers being held in anticipation. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will broadcast the landing live on its website, while DD National TV will begin its live coverage at 5:27 PM. The Chandrayaan-3 mission embarked on its journey from Sriharikota on July 14.

The descent of the Vikram lander towards the lunar surface begins at a rapid velocity of 1.68 km per second. It then undergoes a deceleration process, but it’s still almost parallel to the moon’s surface. This phase, known as the rough braking phase, lasts for approximately 11 minutes. The critical transition to a vertical position relative to the moon’s surface marks the start of the fine braking phase. Any slight error in this delicate descent process could lead to a crash or damage to the spacecraft.

A soft landing, in essence, involves a spacecraft descending and landing on the moon’s surface in a controlled manner without causing substantial harm to either the craft itself or its scientific instruments.

However, there are significant challenges associated with achieving a soft landing, including overcoming high speeds and executing a precisely controlled descent. Chandrayaan-3 faces the daunting task of navigating these hurdles as it aims to make history on the lunar surface.

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