India strolls on Moon: Rover Pragyan rolls out of lander, to relay information via Lander Vikram

"India took a walk on the moon" Chandrayaan-3 mission's Lander Module which touched down on the lunar surface, has rolled out the rover-- Pragyan

BySumit Jha

Published Aug 24, 2023 | 12:48 PMUpdatedAug 24, 2023 | 12:48 PM

India strolls on Moon: Rover Pragyan rolls out of lander, to relay information via Lander Vikram

Pragyan, the lunar rover, rolled out of Chandrayaan-3’s Lander Module (LM), marking India’s first steps on the Moon.

“India took a walk on the Moon,” the country’s premier space agency, the ISRO said. “Rover ramped down”, it said on X.

“Chandrayaan-3 ROVER: Made in India—Made for the Moon! The Ch-3 Rover ramped down from the lander and India took a walk on the Moon,” it said.

President Droupadi Murmu congratulated the ISRO team for the successful deployment of Pragyan.

“Its rolling out a few hours after the landing of Vikram marked the success of yet another stage of Chandrayaan-3. I look forward with excitement, alongside my fellow citizens and scientists, to the information and analyses that Pragyan will acquire and enrich our understanding of the Moon”, she said.

In precision maneuvers, LM Vikram made a soft landing on the Lunar South Pole at 6.04 pm on Wednesday, 23 August, sending the nation over the Moon.

The ISRO earlier said that the 26-kg, six-wheeled rover was scheduled to descend from the lander’s hold onto the Moon’s surface using one of its side panels as a ramp.

The lander and rover — with a total mass of 1,752 kg — are designed to operate for one lunar daylight period (about 14 Earth days) to study the surroundings there.

However, ISRO officials do not rule out the possibility of them staying active for another lunar day.

The rover will carry out in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface during its mobility. Both the lander and rover have scientific payloads to carry out experiments on the lunar surface.

Related: ISRO chief credits Chandrayaan-3 success to ‘incremental progress’

The work rover module

The rover will study the surface of the moon through its payload APXS — Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer — to derive the chemical composition and infer mineralogical composition to further enhance the understanding of the lunar surface.

Pragyan has another payload, the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS), to determine the elemental composition of lunar soil and rocks around the landing site.

“After the powered descent (of the lander), the rover will come out after deploying the ramp. After this operation, the experimentations will take place one after the other, all have to be completed in just one day on the Moon, which is 14 days,” ISRO Chairman S Somnath earlier said.

After the LM’s touchdown, the ISRO scientists remained patient to allow the dust around the landing area to settle down. Once the dust had sufficiently subsided, the subsequent phases of the mission were undertaken.

Pragyan is a mobile robotic vehicle designed for surface exploration and is equipped with instruments for analysing the chemical composition and determining elemental composition.

The information collected would be transmitted to the Earth station via Vikram.