Chandrayaan-3 headlines: How India’s moon landing was reported

After becoming the first nation to land a spacecraft on the moon's south pole, India's celestial success made headlines around the globe. NIRENDRA DEV and TN ASHOK report.

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It’s not just bravado or a pat on the back by a world leader. News reports around the world are now saying the obvious – India has joined the global space race after Chandrayaan-3 landed on lunar soil.

Chandrayaan-3 headlines the world over have hailed India as it became only the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon after the US, Russia and China, and the first to land on the South Pole.

The European Space Agency (ESA) congratulated India on the spectacular feat of landing Chandrayaan-3 on the South Pole of the moon, often called the ‘dark side’, as the event garnered global coverage by every news network in the world.

“India becomes the first country to land a spacecraft on the moon’s South Pole, a rugged region where deep craters lie in permanent shadow and where ice could provide water, oxygen and fuel for future missions,” said Ian Sample for The Guardian in an article by the science editor.

The Guardian article also said “The global space launch market is expected to grow from $9 billion this year to more than $20 billion in 2030. Beyond satellite launches, big space agencies including NASA, the European Space Agency, Russia and China are gearing up… There will be a place for many countries in going back to the moon.”

The New York Times (NYT) wrote, “India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission is set to ‘begin exploring an area of the moon that was yet to be visited and has water ice that could be a resource for future missions.”

The NYT’s Chandrayaan-3 headline is loaded and flattering: “In Latest Moon Race, India Lands First in Southern Polar Region”, following a mocking cartoon after Chandrayaan-2 that Indians complained about as offensive.

“India’s aim to land on moon’s South Pole signals ambition to join global space race,” South China Morning Post said in an article before the successful landing by Vikram, part of India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission, that dropped steadily on its thrusters to the rock below, slowed to a hover as it approached the ground, and finally came to a rest on the dusty terrain.

Experts feel scientists at ISRO and the Indian leadership took a risk by choosing one of the moon’s poles as its destination. This was a “tougher prospect than landing near the equator”, and hence the grand success is also “much sweeter”.

Among others, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated India. Putin’s message to PM Narendra Modi was published on the ‘Kremlin’ website.

“This is a big step forward in space exploration and of course a testament to the impressive progress made by India in the field of science and technology,” said the Russian leader who stayed away from the ongoing BRICS summit in Johannesburg, but participated virtually.

Russia’s Luna-25, which was launched less than two weeks ago, had been on track to get there first before the lander crashed from orbit.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson congratulated ISRO on the landing on X (formerly Twitter).

A Reuters report in The South China Morning Post said, “The seemingly sudden competition to get to a previously unexplored region of the moon recalls the space race of the 1960s, when the United States and the Soviet Union competed. But now space is a business, and the moon’s south pole is a prize because of the water ice there that planners expect could support a future lunar colony, mining operations and eventual missions to Mars.”

An article in The Washington Post a few days back said, “The moon may be dead and desolate, but it is now the hottest real estate in the solar system, generating interest from countries across the globe eager to demonstrate their technological prowess and aid humanity in understanding its closest celestial neighbour.”

Here in Australia, the ABC said: India’s Chandrayaan-3 makes historic landing on the lunar south pole.

The SMH’s Chandrayaan-3 headline is slightly more loaded emotionally: ‘Victory cry’: India becomes fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon.

Meanwhile, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared his ambitions when he said in his first globally televised message after the landing from Johannesburg, “The human-centric approach that we represent has been welcomed universally. Our moon mission is also based on the same human-centric approach. Therefore, this success belongs to all of humanity. And it will help moon missions by other countries in the future. I am confident that all countries in the world, including those from the Global South, are capable of achieving such feats. We can all aspire for the moon and beyond.”

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