Chandrayaan-3, India’s lunar mission, successfully landed on the moon on Wednesday evening. The spacecraft’s camera captured the first photo of the rover emerging from the lander on the ramp. The mission’s lander, named ‘Vikram,’ chose a relatively flat region on the lunar surface for touchdown, as shown in the images.
Shortly after Vikram touched down on the moon with its four landing legs, the Landing Imager Camera captured additional images of the landing site. These images revealed a portion of the site and also showed one of the lander’s legs and its accompanying shadow. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) noted that communication was established between the lander and the space agency’s Mission Operations Complex (MOX) in Bengaluru. The MOX is located at the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC).
India has now become the first country to reach the uncharted south pole of the moon. The lander, Vikram, along with the rover, Pragyan, successfully touched down near the south polar region of the moon at approximately 6:04 pm on Wednesday. Following the landing, ISRO quoted the spacecraft and stated, “India, I reached my destination.”
In a tweet, ISRO congratulated the nation and said, “India, I reached my destination and you too!” The space agency added that Chandrayaan-3 had successfully soft-landed on the moon.
The lander and rover will have a mission life of one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 Earth days. During this time, they will study the surroundings on the moon. However, ISRO officials have not ruled out the possibility of the lander and rover remaining operational for an additional lunar day.
Chandrayaan-3 consists of an indigenous lander module, a propulsion module, and a rover. Its objectives include developing and demonstrating new technologies required for interplanetary missions. The lander is equipped with the capability to make a soft landing at a predetermined lunar site, from where it will deploy the rover. The rover will conduct chemical analysis of the lunar surface during its mobility phase.
Scientists and astronomers believe that the dark regions of the moon may contain ice and valuable mineral resources. The exploration conducted by Chandrayaan-3 will not be limited to the surface but will also focus on studying the sub-surface and exosphere. To communicate with Earth, the rover will utilize an orbiter borrowed from Chandrayaan-2. Images will be captured from a distance of 100 km above the lunar orbit for surface analysis.