On Wednesday, India became the first country to soft land a spacecraft on the unexplored South Pole of the moon.
With the achievement, the nation is just the fourth in human history to land on the surface of the moon. 70 million people watched via the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)’s YouTube page as a lander named Vikram and the rover Pragyan landed on lunar ground.
India's Lunar Landing
“We have achieved soft landing on the moon,” ISRO chairman S. Somanath said as applause overtook the control room. “India is on the moon.”
The accomplishment was celebrated across the nation, home to 1.4 billion people. At the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in the country's capital of New Delhi, locals set off fire crackers and passed out treats as chants of “victory to India!” could be heard.
In Mumbai, the city’s police band played a rendition of patriotic Indian song, “We Shall Overcome”. Several Indian celebrities and public figures shared their pride in posts online.
“Congratulations to all the scientists and engineers… the whole team which has made India so proud,” Bollywood legend Shah Rukh Khan wrote on the site formerly known as Twitter.
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar added: “Humble, hardworking women and men, coming together, overcoming challenges, and making our tricolor fly high.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi watched the landing as he waved an Indian flag. He said shortly after: “This moment is of developed India’s victory. This moment is of new India’s victory cry.”
India's Chandrayaan-3 mission is expected to shed a light on the unexplored south pole of Earth's moon. Scientists believe the region may contain water ice deposits, which could be converted to fuel or drinking water.
“The moon offers great scientific reward, which is why we’ve seen so many recent attempts to visit the surface again,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement on Sunday. “We’re looking forward to all that we will learn in the future, including from India’s Chandraayan-3 mission.”