Chandrayaan-3: Pragyan rover on a 8-metre expedition on moon, payloads engaged

ISRO on Friday, 25 August, said all planned rover movements have been verified and it has successfully traversed a distance of 8 metres.

BySumit Jha

Published Aug 25, 2023 | 9:35 PMUpdatedAug 25, 2023 | 9:35 PM

Chandrayaan-3: Pragyan rover on a 8-metre expedition on moon, payloads engaged

The Pragyan journey: The rover has successfully traversed a distance of about eight metres. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday, 25 August, said that all planned Pragyan movements have been successfully executed.

It added that rover payloads LIBS and APXS are turned ON. “All payloads on the propulsion module, lander module, and rover are performing nominally,” said ISRO in a tweet.

Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) helps determine the chemical composition of the moon’s surface and provides information about its minerals. This helps scientists gain a better understanding of the materials present on the moon.

Additionally, the rover carries another payload called the Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS). This instrument uses laser beams to analyse the elemental composition of the lunar soil and rocks around the landing site.

By studying the elements present in these samples, scientists can gather information about the moon’s geology and composition.

The rover’s mission is expected to last for approximately one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 Earth days.

Also Read: From Railway staff quarters to Moon: Veera Muthuvel’s journey

The rolling down of Prgayan

ISRO on Friday released a breathtaking video of the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s rover Pragyan rolling down from the lander Vikram to the lunar surface as observed by the lander imager camera.

“… and here is how the Chandrayaan-3 Rover ramped down from the Lander to the Lunar surface”, said the message along with the video posted on ‘X’ by the national space agency.

ISRO also released the image of the lander taken by Chandrayaan-2’s Orbiter High Resolution Camera (OHRC) after it soft-landed on the Moon’s surface.

“Chandrayaan-3 Mission update: I spy you! Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter photoshoots Chandrayaan-3 Lander! Chandrayaan-2’s Orbiter High-Resolution Camera (OHRC) — the camera with the best resolution anyone currently has around the moon — spots Chandrayaan-3 Lander after the landing on 23/2 /23,” read the ISRO post.

Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter, launched in 2019, continues to orbit the Moon.

The Vikram lander with Pragyan rover in its belly touched down on the Moon’s surface “well within the area” identified for the purpose on Wednesday.

A few hours after the landing, the 26-kg six-wheeled rover rolled out from the lander’s belly.

Also Read: Why did ISRO choose South Pole of Moon for Chandrayaan-3?

Lander’s work

ISRO said on Thursday evening: “All activities are on schedule. All systems are normal. Lander Module payloads ILSA, RAMBHA and ChaSTE are turned ON today. Rover mobility operations have commenced. SHAPE payload on the Propulsion Module was turned ON on Sunday.”

After the lander module safely lands on the moon’s surface, important instruments called payloads begin their work.

These payloads have different tasks. One of them, RAMBHA-LP, will measure the density of charged particles like ions and electrons near the moon’s surface and observe changes.

Another payload called ChaSTE will measure the temperature and other properties of the lunar surface near the polar region.

Lastly, there is ILSA, which will help detect and study any seismic activity or vibrations near the landing site. It will also help in understanding the structure of the moon’s crust and mantle.

These instruments are crucial for gathering information about the moon’s environment and its geological features.

There are also special devices called altimeters that can measure the height above the ground using lasers and radio waves. Then there are velocimeters that use lasers to measure how fast the lander is moving.

India on Wednesday scripted history as its third unmanned Moon mission’s lander module made a flawless soft-landing, making it only the fourth country to achieve this feat, and first to reach the uncharted south pole of Earth’s only natural satellite.