A prominent Chinese scientist has raised questions about India successfully landing its Chandrayaan-3 rover on the moon just last month, Time.com reported. Ouyang Ziyuan, lauded as the father of China’s lunar exploration program, suggested that some of the claims regarding this may be exaggerated.
The historic event marked India as the first nation to place a spacecraft in close proximity to the lunar south pole, surpassing China’s previous record for the southernmost lunar landing.
Chinese Scientist Challenges Chandrayaan-3 Landing Site as Lunar Pole
Ziyuan, speaking to the Chinese-language Science Times newspaper, pointed out that the location where Chandrayaan-3 landed on the moon, situated at 69 degrees south latitude, falls considerably short of what is technically considered the lunar pole. The lunar pole is typically defined as the area between 88.5 and 90 degrees south latitude, and this is notably distinct from where the Indian rover touched down.
“It’s wrong!” the scientist said regarding claims for an Indian polar landing. “The landing site of Chandrayaan-3 is not at the lunar south pole, not in the lunar south pole region, nor is it near the lunar south pole region.”
On Earth, a location at 69 degrees south latitude would fall within the Antarctic Circle. However, it’s important to note that on the moon, the equivalent of this circle is significantly closer to the lunar pole, according to the publication.
Chandrayaan-3 was located approximately 619 kilometers (385 miles) away from the polar region, as reported by Ouyang. Despite this revelation, India’s space agency had yet to provide a response.
China’s Space Superiority Claims After Chandrayaan-3 Landing
Following Chandrayaan-3’s landing, Pang Zhihao, a senior space expert based in Beijing, was quoted in the Communist Party’s Global Times. Pang asserted that China possessed superior technology in comparison to India’s efforts in space exploration.
China’s space program “has been capable of sending orbiters and landers directly into Earth-Moon transfer orbit since the launch of Chang’e-2 in 2010, a maneuver that India has yet to deliver given the limited capacity of its launch vehicles,” the outlet stated. “The engine that China used is also far more advanced.”
Both the United States and China have their sights set on the lunar region for their forthcoming missions. They aim to send astronauts to the moon for the first time since NASA’s Apollo program concluded nearly fifty years ago.