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Chandrayaan-3: ISRO sings lullaby for Pragyan after mission accomplished

The soft, textbook touchdown of the Chandrayaan-3 after a failed attempt in 2019 sparked widespread jubilation in the world's most populous country.

Edited By: Shubham Verma

Published: Sep 03, 2023, 02:08 PM IST

Chandrayaan-3 was successfully landed on the moon last month.
Chandrayaan-3 was successfully landed on the moon last month.

Story Highlights

  • Chandrayaan-3 touched the moon's surface on August 23.
  • The Pragyan rover has been studying the surface and atmosphere of the moon.
  • It has now been put to sleep as the mission has been accomplished.

India switched off its moon rover, the first craft to reach the lunar south pole after it completed its two-week assignment conducting experiments, the country’s space agency said. The Pragyan rover from the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft was “set into Sleep mode” but with batteries charged and receiver on, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, late on Saturday. The Pragyan rover rolled out of the Vikram Lander minutes after it landed on the surface of the moon on August 23, marking India’s achievement as the first nation to reach the south pole of the moon.

“The Rover completed its assignments. It is now safely parked and set into Sleep mode. APXS and LIBS payloads are turned off. Data from these payloads is transmitted to the Earth via the Lander. Currently, the battery is fully charged. The solar panel is oriented to receive the light at the next sunrise expected on September 22, 2023. The receiver is kept on. Hoping for a successful awakening for another set of assignments!” ISRO said. “Else, it will forever stay there as India’s lunar ambassador.”

By landing on the moon, India joined the United States, China and the former Soviet Union. It went beyond them in reaching the rugged south pole, shortly after Russia’s Luna-25 crashed on a similar attempt. But by reaching the south pole of the Earth’s natural satellite, India became the first-ever country to achieve the feat.

Chandrayaan-3’s soft, textbook touchdown after a failed attempt in 2019 sparked widespread jubilation in the world’s most populous country. The media hailed the landing as India’s greatest scientific feat. From the Prime Minister to the leaders of the opposition to international space agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA), congratulations came from around the world.

Pragyan travelled over 100 m (330 feet), confirming the presence of sulphur, iron, oxygen and other elements on the moon, ISRO said. Now India is hoping for the success of a probe launched on Saturday to study the sun, observing solar winds that can cause disturbance on Earth commonly seen as auroras. “The satellite is healthy” and in earth orbit, ISRO said on Sunday, as it prepares for its 1.5 million-km (930,000-mile) journey.

The latest update from ISRO comes hours after the Indian space agency successfully launched its first solar probe Aditya-L1 into space. The solar mission spacecraft will now reach its destination – the Lagrange Point L1 in the Sun-Earth system – 1.5 million kilometres from the Earth, to park itself and carry out observations of the Sun and related phenomena.

— Written with inputs from Reuters

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Author Name | Shubham Verma

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