Hours after the Pragyan lunar rover rolled out from the Vikram lander and took its first “walk on the moon” in the early hours of Thursday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said that the historic Chandrayaan-3 Mission was running on schedule, with all systems working normally. Instruments aboard the lander and rover will now study the moon’s mineral composition and the seismic activities in its atmosphere, according to ISRO chairman S. Somanath.
The indigenous rover’s exploration of the lunar surface began a day after India became the fourth country to successfully land on the moon, spurring euphoric celebrations at ISRO and around the country.
‘Walk on the moon’
“Chandrayaan-3 ROVER: Made in India Made for the MOON! The Ch-3 Rover ramped down from the Lander and India took a walk on the moon!” ISRO posted on social media platform X, on Thursday morning.
President Draupadi Murmu had made the first announcement of the rover’s successful deployment at 7 a.m. “Its rolling out a few hours after the landing of Vikram marked the success of yet another stage of Chandrayan 3. I look forward with excitement, alongside my fellow citizens and scientists to the information and analyses that Pragyan will acquire and enrich our understanding of the moon,” she posted.
‘All systems are normal’
Later in the evening, ISRO added an update on mission operations and the payloads aboard the lander. “Chandrayaan-3 Mission: All activities are on schedule. All systems are normal. Lander Module payloads ILSA, RAMBHA and ChaSTE are turned ON today. Rover mobility operations have commenced. SHAPE payload on the Propulsion Module was turned ON on Sunday,” it posted.
Dr. Somanath confirmed that the rover movement is happening and working very well. He told the Press Trust of India that there are two instruments in the rover and three instruments on board the lander, and all of them have been switched on sequentially.
“They will study basically the mineral composition of the moon, as well as the atmosphere of the Moon and the seismic activities there,” he added.
Dr. Somanath also said that the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft’s lander Vikram had touched down on the moon’s surface well within the area identified for the purpose.
“(The lander landed) perfectly in the intended site. The landing location was marked as 4.5 km x 2.5 km — I think on that space, and the exact centre of that was identified as the location of landing. It landed within 300 metres of that point. That means it is well within the area identified for landing,” he said.
(with PTI inputs)