The humble beginnings of India’s space odyssey, symbolized within the image of the nose cone of an Indian rocket being transported on a bicycle to a launch site in Thumba in southern India’s Kerala state in the 1970s, have now leapt into the aspirations of India’s space scientists to simply reach for the stars – they say. India on Wednesday (here on Earth) created history by becoming the first country in the world to land a spacecraft on Moon’s south pole, and fourth country to land on Moon overall. The U.S., Russia and China are the only other countries to successfully land a spacecraft on the lunar surface.


The mission is expected to last one lunar day (which is equivalent to 14.75 Earth days) although there is potential for extension. ISRO engineered the lander and rover to utilize solar energy for recharging their internal batteries. However, this energy harnessing can only occur during the lunar day period. Subsequently, the lunar night follows, during which the temperature can reach below -150ºC. Should the lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan) endure this harsh lunar night phase, spanning 14.75 Earth days, there remains a chance of revival as the subsequent lunar day arrives, bringing with it the availability of solar power.


This lunar landing is no mean achievement at all. Looking up at the moon from these hills in this remote corner of the world, realizing that people have been there already and that they are landing modules up there, one wonders if it is about time for us to also broaden our horizons. We cannot afford to let ourselves be stuck here like a monolithic society (literally). We have got to reach for the moon (figuratively).

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