Ouyang Ziyuan, a prominent Chinese scientist hailed as the father of China’s lunar exploration program, has raised doubts about the extent of ISRO’s lunar landing achievement.
According to Ziyuan, the landing site of Chandrayaan-3, which touched down on the Moon’s surface on August 23 after departing from Sriharikota on July 14, is being overstated.
He argues that the landing site, positioned at 69 degrees south latitude, is not in close proximity to the actual south pole of the Moon, which is defined as being between 88.5 and 90 degrees.
Ziyuan’s assertions have sparked controversy, as he contends that Chandrayaan-3’s landing site is significantly distant from the lunar south pole region, making the assertion of a south pole landing “incorrect.”
He specifically states that the landing occurred 619 kilometers away from the polar region.
This isn’t the first instance of a Chinese scientist questioning Chandrayaan-3’s accomplishments. Previously, Pang Zhihao, a space expert based in Beijing, asserted that China’s space capabilities surpass those of India in various aspects.
Pang noted China’s ability to directly send orbiters and landers into the Earth-Moon transfer orbit since 2010, a feat India cannot achieve due to the limited capacity of its launch vehicles.
Pang also highlighted the advanced engines used by China and the larger size of its lunar rover compared to India’s Pragyan.
He pointed out that while Pragyan has a lifespan of only one lunar day and cannot withstand lunar nights, China’s Yutu-2 rover has worked for an extended period on the lunar surface, thanks to its nuclear power source.
The rivalry between China and India in space exploration is well-documented, with both nations striving for supremacy.
However, despite China’s capabilities, India managed to venture farther into space than any other spacecraft, including Russia, the US, and China.
It’s worth noting that Russia’s Luna-25 mission, which was scheduled to arrive before Chandrayaan-3, tragically crashed into the lunar surface on August 19, leaving a 10-meter wide crater.
China’s previous lunar mission touched down at 45 degrees south in 2019, while the US’s Surveyor 7 landed at approximately 41 degrees south in 1968.
The interest in landing on the Moon’s south pole is significant, as there is strong evidence suggesting the presence of ice molecules in that region, which could hold immense importance for future space explorations.