Chandrayaan-3: Pragyan Rover’s Ongoing Race Against Time and Its Lunar Discoveries

ISRO’s Pragyan Rover Faces Lunar Challenge, Retraces Path After Encountering Crater

A week after its soft landing on the Moon’s south pole, Chandrayaan-3’s rover ‘Pragyan’, under the aegis of ISRO, confronted a significant hurdle. The rover encountered a crater just meters away from its designated position on the lunar surface, prompting mission control to command it to retrace its path.

With fewer than 10 days left in the current lunar day, SAC Director Nilesh M Desai emphasized that Pragyan is currently racing against time. ISRO’s scientists are diligently working to maximize the distance the six-wheeled rover can cover across the uncharted terrains of the Moon’s south pole.

Summary of Chandrayaan-3’s Discoveries Over the Last 7 Days:
1. August 23: Shortly after the gentle lunar landing, ISRO shared an image captured by Vikram’s camera, revealing a segment of the landing site. A communication link was established between the lander and ISRO’s Mission Operations Complex in Bengaluru. Images from the Lander Horizontal Velocity Camera during the descent were also released.

2. August 24: Chandrayaan-3’s robotic rover, Pragyan, initiated its mobility operations, and all Lander Module payloads were activated. Rover mobility commenced, and key systems remained normal.

3. August 25: ISRO unveiled a video of Pragyan rolling out from the Vikram lander and moving on the lunar surface. A solar panel enabled the rover to generate power. The video also displayed the rapid deployment of the ramp and solar panel.

4. August 25 (Evening): Pragyan rover traveled approximately eight meters on the Moon’s surface, with all payloads functioning nominally on the propulsion module, lander module, and rover.

5. August 26: ISRO reported the accomplishment of two out of three mission objectives for Chandrayaan-3, with in-situ scientific experiments currently ongoing. All payloads were reported to be operating as expected. Prime Minister Narendra Modi designated names for key lunar locations and announced the celebration of ‘National Space Day’.

6. August 27: ISRO shared a temperature variation graph of the lunar surface and detailed observations from the Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) payload, aimed at understanding the Moon’s thermal behavior.

7. August 28: ISRO revealed the launch date of the Aditya-L1 Solar Mission, India’s first space-based solar observatory, set for September 2, 2023.

8. August 28 (Continued): ISRO’s Bengaluru division continued to update and provide insights.

As Pragyan rover faces its “race against time,” ISRO’s efforts to overcome challenges and continue its lunar exploration remain at the forefront.

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