Chandrayaan-3’s Vikam lander has successfully landed on the south pole of the Moon. This was the second attempt by ISRO to make a soft landing on the south pole of the Moon. In the last attempt, Chandrayaan-2 crash-landed on the lunar surface during its final descent. With this soft landing, India became the first country to achieve this feat and the fourth country to land on the Moon. After the successful landing of the Vikram lander, the Pragyan rover, which was housed within the Vikram lander, has rolled out on the lunar surface. Both the lander and rover will now conduct various scientific observations and experiments on the lunar surface for the next 14 days.
Now that the Pragyan rover is successfully rolled out from the Vikram lander, both the lander and rover will capture mutual images and subsequently the Pragyan rover will embark on its exploratory journey on the lunar surface. The six-wheeled rover will crawl the challenging lunar terrain at the speed of one centimetre per second. The rover, which is equipped with APXS – Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer to derive the chemical composition and infer mineralogical composition will study the lunar surface for elements including magnesium, silicon, potassium, calcium and iron. It will also assist in understanding the Moon’s atmosphere, and day and night.
Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander, which was the centre of attraction till now, had two main objectives- to make a soft landing on the lunar surface and the other was to deploy the Pragyaan rover. The lander has achieved both of its primary objectives and now it will engage in autonomous experiments. It will study plasma (electrons and ions) density, and thermal characteristics of the lunar surface, measure seismic activity on the lunar surface and gather data to delineate the lunar crust and mantle. In addition to this, the rover will communicate with the lander, which will communicate directly with Earth.
After 14 days, there will night on the Moon, which will last for 14 days. During that time, temperature can drop to -173oC. Since, both the lander and the rover derive their energy from the Sun, they will become inactive during the lunar night and keep this thing in mind, ISRO has designed them to last for 14 days but the space agency has not ruled out lander and rover become active again when the Sun raises on the lunar surface. If that happens, it will give ISRO more time to gather data from the lunar surface.
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Author Name | Om Gupta