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A Guide to Space Exploration for Children and India’s Chandrayaan-3 Mission
Do the stars in the night sky raise your curiosity? Do you often think about what the sun and moon are composed of? The quest for these queries has propelled humanity to start the remarkable journey of space exploration. From the contribution and fascination of ancient civilization to the modern-day marvels of space technologies, we will cover every step of humans towards space exploration. And not only this, but we will also help you know about India’s remarkable contribution to celestial exploration by uncovering the details of the Chandrayaan mission in the blog.
Ancient space exploration
Since ancient times, humans have been exploring space; The ancient Egyptian, Greek and Indian civilizations did not use the techniques that we use today for space exploration, but they reached remarkable conclusions.
India’s ancient texts, such as Vedas and Puranas, comprehensively explain the origin of the universe and its structure. Surya Siddhanta, an ancient Indian scripture, contains information about the earth's rotation, the planet’s cycles, and other celestial occurrences. Additionally, astronomical principles like *equinoxes and *solstices were used in the construction of several ancient temples in India.
Father of astronomy and physicist Galileo Galilei observed planets and made groundbreaking observations through a telescope he constructed in the 15th century. His discoveries pave the way for the modern-day space discoveries we are currently witnessing.
*Equinoxes- Equinox happens twice a year (about March 21) and (about September 23) when the duration of night and day becomes equal.
*Solstices- Solstices happen when the sun is at the greatest distance from the equator, resulting in long nights and days.
Modern space exploration
With the launch of the first artificial *satellite by the soviet union, sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957, modern space exploration started. Sputnik satellite took 96 minutes to orbit the earth; It transmitted beeps from a radio transmitter that could be heard on the ground.
The growing technology of the Soviet Union worried the United States of America, and they started working towards developing their own satellite. But after a month following the launch of Sputnik 1, the soviet union launched Sputnik 2, which carried a dog named Laika in it.
The United States successfully launched its first artificial satellite, Explorer, on January 31, 1958. Most scientists who were working on the satellite were Germans who had developed ballistic missiles for Nazi Germany. NASA was established in October 1958 to explore space and develop advance space technology.
Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmologist, was the first human in space. His spacecraft Vostok completed one orbit around the earth on April 12, 1961. After a month, the USA sent Alan Shepard on an orbital flight which went into space but did not orbit the Earth.
After sending the first satellite, the first living creature (dog) and the first human on a flight, the soviet union achieved the first spacewalk and the first to send a woman (Valentina Tereshkova) into space in Vostok 6 mission. However, America achieved a milestone in space field after sending Neil Armstrong on the moon. He was the first astronaut to step on the Moon in 1969. During the mission, the astronauts collected dust and rock from the moon to study about it. After that, NASA sends various *probes into space to study Venus, Mars and Mercury.
*Satellite- An object or spacecraft that orbits a celestial body, such as the moon and stars.
*Probe- An Unmanned spacecraft designed to study and explore celestial bodies such as asteroids, comets, etc.
India’s space odyssey
Though the initial advancements in space were done by the Soviet Union (Now Russia) and the United States of America, India has emerged as a significant contributor to space technology and exploration. ISRO (Indian Space research organisation) has played a vital role in India’s space achievements by developing indigenous satellite launching vehicles- PSLV and GSLV and sending missions such as the Chandrayaan mission, and mars orbit mission, and many more into space.
In 1980, India launched the satellite RS-1 on its own launch vehicle SLV-3 and became the seventh country in the world that could do orbital satellites. After that, ISRO worked on medium-lift launch vehicles and developed GAGAN for navigation. ISRO has sent three missions to moon- chandrayaan 1, chandrayaan 2 and chandrayaan 3 and mars mission (Mangalyaan). The Mars mission has made ISRO the fourth space agency that successfully orbits Mars after NASA, ROSCOSMOS and the European space agency.
Chandrayaan 1 mission was launched on October 22, 2008, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre and entered the moon’s orbit on November 8, 2008. The mission explored the lunar surface and its chemical compositions. The team who was working on chandrayaan-1 was awarded several awards for this mission.
Chandrayaan 2, second moon mission of India, was launched on July 22, 2019. The spacecraft carried the Vikram *lander, which was expected to land on the moon's south pole. But due to a software glitch, the lander failed to make a soft landing and crashed while touching the ground.
Chandrayaan 3 was the third mission of India that carried an *orbiter, *lander and a *rover. It was launched on July 14th 2023 and is expected to reach the moon on 23-24 August. It entered the moon’s orbit on August 5th 2023, three weeks after the launch. If it landed softly on the moon, India would become the fourth country to do so after the US, Soviet Union and China. Thousands of students from international public schools and students from other educational institution, adults and scientist gathered to watch this launch and felt proud after its successful launch.
*Orbiter- An orbiter is a spacecraft that revolves around the orbit of celestial bodies.
*Lander- A lander is a spacecraft designed to touch the surface of a celestial body.
*Rover- A rover is a robot designed to investigate the characteristics of celestial bodies such as the moon.
The key takeaways
Space exploration has helped us know about the mysteries of the universe. And space technologies assist us in monitoring the ever-changing weather condition. India space agency (ISRO) contribution in this field of space exploration is evident from its successful launches such as chandrayaan-3 mission and many more. We hope that this blog will help you appreciate the human spirit that dares to go to the stars. And what India is doing to enhance the understanding of the universe.