India's Chandrayaan-3 rover takes first steps on the Moon

Mission inspires national pride as lander begins to explore south pole

Chandrayaan-3's landing site on the South Pole, showing its leg and accompanying shadow. ISRO
Powered by automated translation

As it happened: India lands Chandrayaan-3 craft on Moon’s south pole

Indians spoke of their joy after the Chandrayaan-3's rover took its first steps on the Moon's surface on Thursday.

Images showed the Pragyaan rover exiting the Vikram lander down a slide onto the dusty surface of the south pole.

It was followed by a "walk on the Moon", the Indian Space Research Organisation said.

Pragyaan, with six wheels and weighing 26kg, carries instruments that will look for minerals and study the composition of the soil. It can move relatively fast, at 1cm per second.

Wednesday night's successful lunar landing and paves the way for the country to expand its space programme to include more complex missions to the Moon and beyond.

India successfully lands spacecraft on the Moon

India successfully lands spacecraft on the Moon

India is now the fourth country to land on the Moon, after the US, the Soviet Union and China.

Media such as newspapers and TV news channels, as well social media platforms, were filled with congratulatory messages.

TV channels broadcast people shouting with joy and tearing up as soon as the spacecraft touched down softly on the Moon's surface.

Indian newspapers splashed images of the feat on their front pages. Indian Express said “The moon is Indian” and The Times of India said "India goes where no nation has gone before". The Hindustan Times wrote "Chandrayaan - 3,2,1 … contact" along with "18 tense minutes to timeless milestone".

On X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, the hashtag #Chandrayaan was trending, with people sharing images and videos of the Pragyan rover emerging from the Chandrayaan lander.

“Chandrayaan-3 rover: made in India, made for the Moon", Isro said on Thursday.

"The Ch-3 rover ramped down from the lander and India took a walk on the Moon,” it added.

The rover will roam the moon's surface for a lunar day — equal to 14 earth days — and will conduct scientific experiments, while a propulsion module will remain in orbit around the Moon and act as a communications relay satellite.

Some users also shared videos of Isro scientists dancing and celebrating after the successful landing.

On Instagram and Facebook, people shared screenshots from the live-stream with captions expressing their pride.

Next, Isro will show footage of the rover on the Moon and conduct scientific experiments on its surface.

This is India’s second mission to the Moon's south pole. In 2008, it intentionally crashed the Chandrayaan-1 lander on to the lunar surface and confirmed the presence of water ice.

The budget of the Chandrayaan-3 mission was Rs6.15 billion (about $74.5 million).

Updated: August 24, 2023, 7:17 AM