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Space

In Photos: Chandrayaan-3 Mission Continues as Rover Explores Lunar Surface

On Monday, ISRO posted photographs of a crater that Pragyan – the rover carried by Chandrayaan-3’s lander Vikram – encountered.

New Delhi: ISRO has been releasing regular updates on the Chandrayaan-3 mission, including photos that the Pragyan rover has taken and the experiments conducted by it since the Vikram lander successfully soft-landed on the lunar surface on August 23.

On Monday (August 28), ISRO posted photographs of a crater that Pragyan – the rover carried by Chandrayaan-3’s lander Vikram – encountered, prompting it to change its path to a safer route.

Photo of the crater encountered by Pragyan. Photo: X/@ISRO

“On August 27, 2023, the Rover came across a 4-meter diameter crater positioned 3 meters ahead of its location. The Rover was commanded to retrace the path. It’s now safely heading on a new path,” the space agency said in a tweet.

The new path taken by the rover. Photo: X/@ISRO

Two days later Pragyan sent back images of Vikram that show the lander firmly planted on the lunar surface. The Indian space agency said that this “iconic image of the mission” was taken by the navigation camera onboard the rover.

Vikram as seen on the lunar surface. Photo: X/@ISRO

“Once more, co-traveller Pragyan captures Vikram in a Snap! This iconic snap was taken today around 11 am IST from about 15 m. The data from the NavCams is processed by SAC/ISRO, Ahmedabad,” ISRO said in a tweet.

The rover was also able to successfully make “the first-ever in-situ – in the original space – measurements on the elemental composition of the surface near the south pole” and found a host of chemicals, including sulphur and oxygen, on moon’s soil, BBC reported.

The instrument “unambiguously confirms” the presence of sulphur, the agency said, adding that preliminary analysis also “unveiled the presence of aluminium, calcium, iron, chromium, titanium, manganese, silicon and oxygen. A thorough investigation regarding the presence of hydrogen is underway,” ISRO said.

On Sunday (August 27), ISRO said that they had received the first set of data about the temperatures on the lunar topsoil and up to the depth of 10cm below the surface from a probe onboard Vikram lander.

The probe – called the ChaSTE experiment, or Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment – is fitted with 10 individual temperature sensors and has thrown up some interesting results, the BBC reported.