(CTN NEWS) – On August 23, India achieved a historic milestone as ISRO’s ambitious third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, successfully landed its Lander Module (LM) on the moon’s surface.
This achievement not only marked a significant moment for India but also positioned it as the fourth country in the world to accomplish such a feat.
Impressively, India’s Chandrayaan-3 became the first mission to achieve a landing at the previously unexplored south pole of the moon.
Following the successful touchdown of the Lander Module, the rover named Pragyan was deployed onto the lunar terrain. Since then, a series of observations have been undertaken, unveiling the mysteries hidden within the lunar expanse of the South Pole.
Among the primary objectives of the Chandrayaan Moon Mission, two have already been fulfilled, while the third objective is presently in progress.
The mission has effectively demonstrated the capability of executing a safe and gentle landing on the moon’s surface, a remarkable achievement in its own right.
Furthermore, the successful deployment of the rover and its subsequent traversal across the moon’s landscape stand as a testament to the mission’s second accomplished objective.
Simultaneously, the third objective, involving the execution of in-situ scientific experiments, is currently underway. This phase of the mission holds the promise of unlocking invaluable insights into the moon’s geological and scientific characteristics.
Exploring the Lunar Terrain: Noteworthy Discoveries on the Moon’s Surface
1. Temperature Readings on the Lunar Surface:
Here are the first observations from the ChaSTE payload onboard Vikram Lander.
ChaSTE (Chandra's Surface Thermophysical Experiment) measures the temperature profile of the lunar topsoil around the pole, to understand the thermal behaviour of the moon's… pic.twitter.com/VZ1cjWHTnd
— ISRO (@isro) August 27, 2023
On August 27, ISRO unveiled a temperature variation graph of the lunar surface, accompanied by a statement from a senior scientist within the space agency expressing astonishment at the unexpectedly high temperature readings registered on the Moon.
The agency disclosed that the Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) payload, situated aboard Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander, had meticulously gauged the temperature dynamics of the lunar topsoil around the pole.
This endeavor aimed to unravel the thermal conduct of the Moon’s exterior.
In conversation with the news agency PTI, ISRO scientist B H M Darukesha conveyed, “Our collective anticipation leaned towards temperatures ranging between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius on the lunar surface.
However, the recorded figure of 70 degrees Celsius is a startling revelation, exceeding our initial projections.”
2. Moon’s Surface Encounter:
On August 27, during its traversal of the lunar landscape, the Chandrayaan-3 Rover encountered a hurdle in the form of a 4-meter diameter crater. According to a report from ISRO, this crater was situated just 3 meters ahead of the Rover’s position.
To address this challenge, ISRO directed the Rover to backtrack along its path. Subsequently, the space agency confirmed that the Rover was now securely en route along an alternative trajectory.
3. Lunar Surface Elements:
On August 30, the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope instrument carried by the ‘Pragyan’ rover of Chandrayaan-3 made a definitive confirmation of the presence of sulfur in the lunar terrain near the south pole.
Additionally, various other elements such as Aluminum (Al), Calcium (Ca), Iron (Fe), Chromium (Cr), Titanium (Ti), Manganese (Mn), Silicon (Si), and Oxygen (O) were detected. The space agency also conveyed that the search for Hydrogen (H) is currently underway.
Race Against Time” for Lunar Exploration: ISRO’s Focused Efforts at the South Pole
In the meantime, scientists have indicated that the rover is currently engaged in a time-sensitive endeavor. ISRO is working to maximize the coverage of unexplored areas at the south pole using the six-wheeled rover.
“We have a total of 14 days for this mission, equivalent to one lunar day, and four days have already passed. The forthcoming ten days hold crucial significance for conducting further experiments and research.
Our efforts are intensified to optimize this timeframe, with the entire ISRO team dedicated to this objective,” Nilesh M Desai, Director of the Space Applications Centre, conveyed to ANI on Sunday.
In a prior development on Saturday, Prime Minister Modi had announced the christening of the location where the Chandrayaan-3 Vikram lander executed its soft landing as ‘Shiv Shakti Point’.
Additionally, the site where the Chandrayaan-2 lander encountered a crash landing on the moon’s surface in 2019 was designated as “Tiranga Point”.
Furthermore, August 23, the date of Chandrayaan-3 lander’s lunar touchdown, was declared as ‘National Space Day’ by Prime Minister Modi.
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