Landing on the Moon


Dr. Ravi P. Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

India has sent a Moon Lander to land on the moon on 22 August. What is so special about this feat is that it calls for delicate manoeuvring by the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) scientists on the Lander so that it drops gently on the moon at the desired location without breaking up. The Lander is named Chandrayaan – 3. The name Chandrayaan  indicates the yaan (spacecraft) of the Moon (Chandra) — the number indicates the third craft that has been commissioned for landing.

The landing is a very delicate affair. Sending the  Moon module towards the moon is relatively a straight forward mission, but landing on the Moon is a delicate and difficult scientific task. For landing, the Chandrayaan first circles around the Moon and gradually its speed is reduced and its orbit also reduced by scientists who are tracking its path. When its speed is slowed down and a suitable spot on the Moon is identified by scientists, the scientists will aim at landing of the spacecraft after two more days  — on 23 August.

It may be mentioned that the recent Russian attempt for its craft   Luna 25    to land softly on the Mono has failed — its craft crashed after it hit the moon’s surface as reported on August 21 by its agency Roskosmos.  However Russia was the first country to have sent its craft Luna 2 to the Moon in September 1959.

USA has also attempted to land on the Moon in July 1969. Its Apollo 11 mission was successful but it had crewmen sitting on the craft.  Its soft landing subsequently, without any crew sitting on the craft was successful as it landed on the near side of the Moon . China has also been successful in soft landing on its far side.

Japan is another country that had a space mission  on the Moon — Hiten, for landing on the Moon in 1993 but it was not a soft landing. The craft crashed after hitting the moon’s surface. India had also landed on the Moon earlier in 2008 but this was not a controlled soft landing. Even when a craft crashes on the Moon, it sends useful photographs about the Moon’s surface  and other important information that is utilised by subsequent attempts at landing.

Scientific organisations such as ISRO in India and similar organisations in other countries keep on exploring the Moon  for not only scientific purposes but also to satisfy the poetic non-scientific desires of people. Several poets have written poems to talk about the moon and described its beauty and radiance, especially on a dark night. When it is totally dark in some regions like forests or remote regions, a poem on the beauty of the moon is welcome .

The moon is not just a beautiful object in space, it provides light and peace for the millions of people on the Earth especially as it continues to display its charm from a narrow crescent shape to the beauty of full Moon that is called Poornima (full moon, in Hindi).

Sometimes, children who act independently and don’t follow their parents’ instructions are warned that if they don’t do what their parents ask them to, the Moon will become angry and not radiate light and charm. Also a newly married husband will  occasionally complement his wife’s beauty by comparing it with the beauty and charm of a full moon.

Moon, Oh beautiful Moon
Show your beauty and charm
Make my wife as beautiful as you are
And I will honour you with rose petals


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 18 Sep 2023.

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