As Chandrayaan 3 lands successfully on moon’s South pole, critics start calling India’s mission fake

Chandrayaan -3 mission success: Vikram Lander safely descends on Moon, India first nation to touch Lunar south pole

On August 23, Wednesday, at 18:04 hours, India scripted history as the Chandrayaan 3 spacecraft accomplished a precise landing on the uncharted southern extremity of the moon. Prior to this, only three nations, the US, China, and the Soviet Union of Russia have ever touched down on Earth’s satellite, though none have successfully made it to the South Pole.

The success was celebrated with cheers and applause at the ground station. Indians all across the world rejoiced and lit firecrackers to celebrate the landmark achievement of the ISRO. Congratulatory messages from around the world started pouring in as India went on to become the first country to land a spacecraft near the lunar south pole.

As ecstatic India continued to celebrate the remarkable feet it has achieved, several naysayers resorted to calling India’s successful Chandrayaan 3 mission ‘fake.’ These critics, unable to accept India’s accomplishment, took to the microblogging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, to mock the country’s mission by sharing the animation ISRO showed to depict Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander making a secure touchdown on the moon yesterday.

Popular X user PunFact shared a video of a man, donning what looked like a Nihang attire, negating India’s mission to the moon. He called the animated video shared by ISRO fake and edited. He preached how he could also create such a video showing him landing on the moon. He quoted the Guru Granth Sahib and claimed that it is written there that “no one can place foot on the moon as there is no surface, no one can land as its just a source of light.” He then went on to assert that the ISRO had used an ‘edited’ video to show that they had landed a spacecraft on the moon.

“The Graphics on this fake moon landing are so shit, even a child can see its fake, we have never been to the moon or into space & we still have not today, I can’t believe people will fall for the bullshit lies again,” wrote an X user going with the handle @1glinton.

Another X user @Payal_777, while replying to one Vivek Singh, not only called India’s Chandrayaan 3 mission fake but also cast aspersions on Chandrayaan 2. It may be recalled that India’s 2019 lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 successfully launched an orbiter around the moon, which is still operational today, despite its failure to make a soft landing on the moon’s surface.

Tweeting on August 21, when Chandrayaan 3 was orbiting around the moon, she asserted that India had not even sent Chandrayaan 3 to the moon and it still remains on the Earth.

“This is fake, NASA gave money & this pics to ISRO and told to publish them. Even ChandraYaan 3 is on Earth and not in Moon’s orbit. Sab mile hue hai ji,” @Payal_777 responded.

“Moon landing is fake!” wrote @FalanaAkh, while responding to another X user.

Several social media users claimed that the ISRO video showing the landing of the Vikram lander was fake. These naysayers ignored the obvious fact that it was just an animation created to visually represent what was happening 384,400 km away.

Obviously, there can’t be an actual video of the landing of the Vikram lander on the lunar surface, because that will require another spacecraft with a camera travelling along with it. However, ISRO operates a deep space tracking station that enables it to locate, track, command and receive telemetry and scientific data from its spacecraft. Isro’s Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Network (Istrac) in Bengaluru also plays a key role in tracking and supporting Isro’s satellite and launch missions. Additionally, Chandrayaan-2 orbiter was also tracking Chandrayaan 3. In fact, it was Chandrayaan 2 that had identified the landing spot for Chandrayaan 3.

Using real-time data it received from its tracking stations, ISRO created an animated video depicting the powered descent of the lander module to the soft landing on the moon’s terrain.

There are cameras on the various modules of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, and they will capture images of the lunar surface to transmit them to Earth. The Lander Imager Camera captured the moon’s image just before and during the touchdown, which shows parts of the spacecraft. But there can’t be actual visuals of the landing taken from outside the lander. At a later stage, the Vikram lander and Pragyam rover may be able to photograph each other.

After a 40-day journey into space, the Chandrayaan-3 lander, ‘Vikram’, touched down on the lunar South Pole on Wednesday evening, making India the first country to do so. India also became only the fourth nation after the US, Russia and China to successfully conduct a lunar landing mission. After the landing of the Vikram lander, the Pragyan rover rolled out of it, which will visit the surrounding areas to study.

Chandrayaan-3 was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota on July 14 using a GSLV Mark 3 (LVM 3) heavy-lift launch vehicle. The spacecraft was placed in the lunar orbit on August 5 and since then, it has gone through a series of orbital manoeuvres before landing on the moon’s surface.

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