Giving a much-awaited glimpse of Pragyan rover on the lunar surface, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday said it successfully traversed a distance of about eight metres. The space agency released two videos of Pragyan, two days after the Chandrayaan-3’s lander Vikram made a historic soft-landing on the Moon’s south pole.
The first video, which runs for 30 seconds, shows Pragyan rover rolling out from the lander onto the lunar surface. The video was captured by the lander imager camera on Wednesday. The second video shows the deployment of the ramp from the lander module prior to the roll-out of the rover and deployment of the solar panel of the rover.
“A two-segment ramp facilitated the roll-down of the rover. A solar panel enabled the rover to generate power. Here is how the rapid deployment of the ramp and solar panel took place, prior to the rolldown of the rover. The deployment mechanisms, totalling 26 in the Ch-3 mission, were developed at U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC)/ISRO, Bengaluru,” ISRO said on X (formerly Twitter) while releasing the second video.
Providing more updates on the rover’s movement, ISRO said that Pragyan has successfully traversed a distance of about 8 metres and that the payloads have been “turned on”. “All planned Rover movements have been verified. The Rover has successfully traversed a distance of about eight meters. The Rover payloads Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) are turned on,” ISRO said. The objective of the two payloads is to derive the elemental composition in the vicinity of the landing site.
The lander and the rover with a mission life of one lunar day (14 earth days) have scientific payloads to carry out experiments on the lunar surface.
The lander has four payloads to study thermal conductivity, temperature, seismicity, and other characteristics of lunar surface. Of them, three payloads - ILSA, RAMBHA and ChaSTE - have been turned on.
“All payloads on the propulsion module, lander module, and rover are performing nominally,” ISRO added.
ISRO deletes post
ISRO on Friday morning released images of the Chandrayaan-2’s camera spotting the Chandrayaan-3’s lander on the social media platform only to delete it later.
“The Chandrayaan-2’s Orbiter High-Resolution Camera (OHRC) spots Chandrayaan-3 Lander,” the space agency had said.