Indian rover begins exploring Moon’s south pole

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Indian rover begins exploring Moon’s south pole
New Delhi: India began exploring the Moon’s surface with a rover on Thursday, a day after it became the first nation to land a craft near the largely unexplored lunar south pole.

Pragyan — “Wisdom” in Sanskrit — rolled out of the lander hours after the latest milestone in India’s ambitious but cut-price space programme sparked huge celebrations across the country.

“Rover ramped down the lander and India took a walk on the moon!” the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday.

The six-wheeled, solar-powered rover will amble around the relatively unmapped region and transmit images and scientific data over its two-week lifespan.

The successful touchdown of the Chandrayaan-3 ( “Mooncraft-3 “) mission came just days after a Russian lander crashed in the same region.

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It also comes four years after the previous Indian lunar mission failed during final descent, in what was seen at the time as a huge setback for its space programme.

However, India is steadily matching the achievements of established spacefaring nations.

Chandrayaan-3 has captivated public attention since launching nearly six weeks ago in front of thousands of cheering spectators.

Politicians staged Hindu prayer rituals to wish for the mission’s success and schoolchildren followed the final moments of its descent from live broadcasts in classrooms.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that the successful lunar landing — previously achieved only by the United States, Russia and China — was a triumph for “all of humanity”.

Elon Musk, whose firm SpaceX is a leader in commercial space launches, hailed the landing as “super cool”.

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