Fact Check: Misleading claims on moon mission orbit around astronaut Rakesh Sharma on his birthday


Social media was full of wishes for Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to travel to space, as he turned 73 on January 13. Many even called him the first Indian astronaut to walk on the moon.

One such tweet in Hindi translates to, “Tribute to Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian astronaut to step on the moon, on his birthday.”

However, the post is misleading as no astronaut from India has landed on the moon till now. Sharma though was the first Indian to travel to space. In 1984, he, along with two Russian cosmonauts, spent a week in space laboratory Salyut-7. India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) digs deeper.

From the horse’s mouth

AFWA spoke to the first Indian astronaut on his birthday over phone. “I have never been to the moon. But social media for years has been saying that I’ve been to the moon. I never visit social media, so I’ve never felt the need to correct these things,” Sharma told us about the viral claim.

On April 3, 1984, Sharma flew on board Soyuz T-11 with two Soviet cosmonauts, Commander Yury Malyshev and flight engineer Gennady Strekalov, to the space station Salyut-7.

During the mission, he carried out several experiments in zero gravity. “I had orbited the Earth and our scientists had carried out several experiments using our equipment. In that sense, it was an opportunity well utilised,” Sharma added.

The mission lasted eight days, and Sharma and his crewmates landed in Kazakhstan on April 11.

This historic mission was covered by the international media as it had a lot of geo-political significance and had taken Indo-Russia friendship even to space.

Mission To Moon

Twenty-four American astronauts made the trip from Earth to the moon between 1968 and 1972. Russians have also made several unmanned missions and soft landings on the moon.

In comparison, India’s mission to moon is still in an early stage. As per reports, Isro will launch the ambitious Chandrayaan-3 mission in the third quarter of 2022. The project has suffered delay due to the pandemic.

But India’s manned mission to the moon is still a distant dream. “You got to first cut your teeth in making humans survive in the near-Earth orbit. We have not yet reached there. So we’ll have to wait till we have enough expertise,” says Rakesh Sharma.

“See, the moon has been done to death already. So now when you are going to the moon, you are not going for a visit, but to settle there. So that is a different ball game altogether,” Sharma signed off.

ClaimTribute to Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian astronaut to walk on the moon, on his birthday on January 13. ConclusionNo astronaut from India has landed on the moon till now. Rakesh Sharma was the first Indian to travel to space. In 1984, Sharma, along with Russian cosmonauts, spent a week in space laboratory Salyut-7.

JHOOTH BOLE KAUVA KAATE

The number of crows determines the intensity of the lie.

  • 1 Crow: Half True
  • 2 Crows: Mostly lies
  • 3 Crows: Absolutely false





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