‘Pragyan’ rover aboard Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander begins movement on Lunar South Pole surface

In a groundbreaking leap for India’s space program, the nation achieved a historic milestone by successfully executing a soft landing on the moon’s surface on Wednesday. The successful soft landing by the Chandrayaan-3 marked a technological triumph, as well as put India among a select group of space elites that have achieved the remarkable feat of landing on the lunar landscape. And if this is not enough, it made the South-Asian country the first to successfully land on the lunar south pole (soon after Russia’s lunar mission failed to do so).

At the heart of Chandrayaan-3’s mission lies the rover Pragyan, a scientific marvel designed to unravel the mysteries of the moon’s far southern surface. Equipped with an array of advanced instruments, Pragyan is set to conduct in-situ chemical analysis, providing insights into the composition and mineralogy of the lunar landscape. The rover’s capabilities, like the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), is set to offer scientists a window into the moon’s history and its geological evolution.

With its wheels now on the lunar surface, Pragyan, the rover, is poised for a remarkable journey of discovery. Its instruments, including APXS, will scrutinize the moon’s composition in unprecedented detail. These findings promise to rewrite our understanding of lunar history, unveiling clues about its formation, geological processes, and interactions with the cosmos.

Before Chandrayaan-3’s triumphant landing, the camera of the lander Vikram seized captivating images of the moon’s surface, offering a tantalizing glimpse of the uncharted terrain. These snapshots, captured just prior to touchdown and during the descent, were later released by ISRO on Thursday in an official post on X. Prior to this, ISRO announced that all activities are on schedule and that all the systems are normal. The Lander module payloads ILSA, RAMBHA and ChaSTE have been turned on, while the SHAPE payload on the Propulsion Module was turned on on Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi proudly declared the triumph of India’s lunar endeavor, Chandrayaan-3, as a significant milestone not only for the nation but also for global space exploration. This achievement was accompanied by warm wishes from US Vice President Kamala Harris, who recognized the monumental feat and India’s collaborative approach to space.

“Congratulations to India for the historic landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the southern polar region of the moon. It’s an incredible feat for all the scientists and engineers involved. We are proud to partner with you on this mission and space exploration more broadly,” Harris wrote in a post on X on Wednesday.
“Thank you for your warm wishes @VP @KamalaHarris. The success of Chandrayaan-3 is not just a milestone for India but for global space research. Collaborative spirit in space exploration accelerates our journey to progress,” Modi replied.

The successful soft landing on the lunar surface occurred after ISRO executed the Automatic Landing Sequence (ALS) roughly 20 minutes prior to touchdown. The Vikram lander, carrying the hopes of a nation, autonomously navigated through a labyrinth of challenges to find a suitable landing spot on the lunar surface.

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