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India made history by becoming the fourth country in the world to land on the Moon and the first one to successfully reach its south pole, NBC News reported.

The uncrewed Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft was launched last month and touched down on the Moon’s south polar region in the early hours of Wednesday. The spacecraft is packed with a lander about the size of an SUV and is also carrying a smaller rover.

The mission will conduct a series of experiments on the lunar surface, including testing mineral composition and seismic activity. Both rovers are solar-powered and designed to operate for around two weeks.

So far, only three countries – the United States, China and the former Soviet Union – have conducted controlled or “soft” landings on the Moon. Wednesday’s touchdown is a huge success for the world’s most populous nation as it has been vying for greater influence in the cosmos.

The successful landing came days after a Russian spacecraft – also heading to the southern polar regions – failed during an orbital maneuver and crashed into the Moon’s surface.

Russia’s Luna-25 was the first Moon-landing spacecraft launched by the country’s space agency in nearly 50 years.

The Moon’s south pole has drawn the attention of space agencies and scientists. Known for its shadowed craters holding higher water ice concentrations, this area could be vital for future lunar settlements.

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