Historic Chandrayaan-3 Moon Mission Sends Breathtaking Photos Of Lunar Surface
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) shared some spectacular images from its Chandrayann-3 mission, showcasing the monumental moment in India's space history. This marks the country's third lunar exploration mission which will also include a lunar landing of a rover.
Chandrayann-3 launched on July 14, 2023, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, and is made up of a lunar lander, propulsion module, and a rover. If the Indian spacecraft is able to successfully land on the moon, it would make India only the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the surface of the moon, with the other three being the United States, Russia, and China. However, before the lunar landing is attempted, Chandrayann-3 has sent back some stunning images of the lunar surface.
formerly known as Twitter) account. The video shared was made during the Lunar Orbit Insertion on August 5, 2023.
Following the spacecraft entering the intended lunar orbit, it sent back the message, "MOX, ISTRAC, this is Chandrayann-3, I am feeling lunar gravity."
The images are not expected to be the highlight of the mission, however. ISRO will begin to separate the landing module, Vikram (the lander) and Pragyan (the rover), from the propulsion module. Once separated, Vikram will be placed in a 100km x 30km orbit, where it will attempt a very tedious soft landing onto the surface of the moon. The landing is currently scheduled for approximately 5:47pm IST on August 23, 2023.
Once the lander reaches the lunar surface, the six-wheeled rover will emerge in order to begin carrying out experiments for one-lunar day (about 14 Earth days). However, the rover's solar-powered sleep/wake-up cycle could provide enough power to last longer than planned.
The mission objectives of Chandrayann-3 are to demonstrate a safe and soft landing on the lunar surface, demonstrate the rover's ability to traverse the Moon's surface, and conduct in-situ scientific experiments. The rover itself consists of an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and a Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) meant for deriving the elemental composition in the vicinity of the landing, according to ISRO's website. The rover is expected to carry out in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface while the rover is operational.
"The rover is carrying five instruments which will focus on finding out about the physical characteristics of the surface of the Moon, the atmosphere close to the surface, and the tectonic activity to study what goes on below the surface," remarked ISRO Chief Sreedhara Panicker Somanath. He concluded, "I'm hoping we'll find something new."