The Pragyan rover came across a crater meters ahead of its location on the Moon, according to Monday’s statement from the ISRO, and was instructed to reverse its steps.
The ‘Pragyan’ rover from the Chandrayaan-3 mission soft-landed on the south pole of the Moon exactly one week ago. On Monday, the Indian Space Research Organisation reported that Pragyan had been ordered to turn around after coming across a crater on the lunar surface just meters in front of where it was supposed to be.
With less than 10 days left to complete one lunar day, Space Applications Centre (SAC) director Nilesh M Desai said on Sunday that the Chandrayaan-3’s Pragyan is in a “race against time” and that ISRO scientists are working to cover the maximum distance of the uncharted south pole via the six-wheeled rover.
What ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 discovered in the last seven days:
- August 23: Just hours after the gentle landing on the lunar surface, the ISRO released the image obtained by Vikram’s camera for the first time. “It depicts a portion of the landing site of Chandrayaan-3.” A leg and its shadow are also visible. “Chandrayaan-3 chose a relatively flat region on the lunar surface,” the spacecraft announced on X (formerly Twitter). The ISRO also announced the establishment of a communication link between the lander and the space agency’s Mission Operations Complex (MOX) in Bengaluru. The ISRO Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Network (ISTRAC) hosts the MOX. The ISRO also released photos from the Lander’s Horizontal Velocity Camera, which were captured during the descent to the Moon’s surface.
- August 24: The Indian space agency said in the morning that “India took a walk on the moon,” when Chandrayaan-3’s robotic rover rolled out of the lander and began mobility operations, with all activities on time and all systems operating normally. It also stated that all of the Lander Module (LM) payloads had been activated. “Everything is running on time. All systems are operating normally. Today, the Lander Module payloads ILSA, RAMBHA, and ChaSTE are activated. The Rover mobility operations have begun. “The SHAPE payload on the Propulsion Module was turned on on Sunday,” it announced in a post on X that evening, while providing an update.
- August 25: The ISRO published a video of the Pragyan rover walking on the lunar surface after it emerged from the Chandrayaan-3 Vikram lander. Another video from the ISRO shows how a two-segment ramp aided in the roll-down of the Pragyan. According to the report, the rover generates power thanks to a solar panel. The video also demonstrated how the ramp and solar panel were quickly deployed prior to the rover’s rolldown. On the same evening, the ISRO reported that the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s Pragyan rover had traveled approximately eight meters on the lunar surface and that its payloads had been activated. According to the Bengaluru-based national space agency, all payloads on the propulsion module, lander module, and rover are operating normally.
- August 26: According to the ISRO, two of the three Chandrayaan-3 mission objectives have been met, with the third — in-situ scientific investigations — currently continuing. It also stated that the mission’s payloads are operating normally. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that the place where the Vikram lander made a soft landing would be designated as “Shiv Shakti Point,” while the point where the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft crashed-landed on the Moon’s surface in 2019 would be recognized as “Tiranga Point.” Modi also declared August 23, the date the Chandrayaan-3 lander touched down on the lunar surface, to be “National Space Day.”
- August 27: The ISRO produced a graph of the temperature variation on the lunar surface, and one of the space agency’s leading scientists expressed surprise at the high temperature recorded on the Moon. According to the national space agency, the ChaSTE payload onboard Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander analyzed the temperature profile of the lunar topsoil around the pole to better understand the thermal behavior of the Moon’s surface.
- August 28: On September 2, 2023, the space research organization will launch the Aditya-L1 Solar Mission, the first space-based Indian observatory to study the Sun. The solar mission will be launched from Sriharikota on September 2, 2023, at 11:50 a.m.
- August 28: Pragyan, based in Bengaluru, is currently safely on a new path, according to the national space agency. According to the ISRO, the rover discovered a four-metre-diameter crater three metres ahead of its current site on August 27. “The rover was commanded to retrace the path,” it stated, before continuing on a new path.