(An image of the moon's surface taken by the MIP as it approaches the lunar surface)
India has now officially become the 5th country in the world to reach the moon, realizing Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam's dream to make India's presence felt on the Moon's presence. The Indian tricolour landed on the moon at 8:31 pm on friday, 14th of Nov'2008. Other countries which accomplished a similar feat before India are the US, former Soviet Union, European Space Agency and Japan (technically only though, as its orbiter crashed into the lunar surface only due to a technical malfunction).
The tricolour National Flag was painted on all sides of the 29 Kg Moon Impact Probe (MIP), which was attached to the top portion of the main lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan - 1. Former President, A P J Abdul Kalam, was behind the idea of putting the Indian Flag on the moon. Kalam pointed out that since the Chandrayaan was orbitting the moon just 100 Km's above the lunar surface, a landing on the moon would definitely make India's presence felt on the Moon's surface. Besides, by doing this, India can now always stake a claim to a portion of the Moon.
The experience gained by the Moon impact Probes landing will now also go a long way in planning India's manned mission to the moon. The landing of the probe also establishes India's presence on the moon and prooves beyond any doubt that India can actually do it!
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