Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has released the initial images of the Pragyan rover embarking on its lunar journey just two days after the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 near the moon’s southern pole. This achievement positions India as the first country to accomplish such a feat. The space agency shared a video capturing the rover’s rollout from the Vikram lander during the early hours of Thursday.
The released video showcases the rover’s methodical descent from the lander to the moon’s surface, with ISRO tweeting, “…and here is how the Chandrayaan-3 rover ramped down from the lander to the lunar surface.”
The space agency also detailed, “A two-segment ramp facilitated the roll-down of the rover. A solar panel enabled the rover to generate power…”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to engage with ISRO’s chief, S Somanath, and the Chandrayaan-3 scientific team on Saturday, immediately upon his return from Athens, Greece.
During this meeting, the Pragyan rover is expected to hoist the Indian tricolour on the lunar surface, witnessed by the Prime Minister.
Senior officials within the space agency disclosed that the Pragyan rover was released from the Vikram lander’s interior around 10:30 pm on Wednesday, approximately four hours following the lander’s successful touchdown on the lunar terrain. After meticulous assessments of factors such as inclination, temperature, terrain, and dust settling, the rover was systematically set in motion early on Thursday, around 1:30 am.
According to an official, “On Thursday, the rover moved within the observational area. We have not received the first set of data yet. Once all payloads are turned on, which should happen by Saturday, we will start getting initial data.”
ISRO confirmed that the rover underwent charging until Thursday afternoon and was subsequently mobilized on the lunar surface later in the day. Over the course of late Thursday and early Friday, three critical payloads were activated.
These payloads encompass the Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA), designed to measure seismic activity around the landing site; the Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA), which is focused on studying the ionosphere and atmosphere; and Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE), tasked with assessing thermal conductivity and temperature.
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