With the harsh lunar night approaching at the Moon’s south pole, which serves as the landing site for Chandrayaan 3, ISRO is diligently pursuing extensive exploration. This effort is driven by the anticipation of temperatures plummeting below -200 degrees Celsius, significantly colder than the Indian lunar mission’s tolerance threshold. In the latest updates, the Indian space agency shared a new video on Thursday depicting the Pragyan rover’s endeavours as it traverses the lunar terrain, all while being closely monitored by the Vikram Lander.
The message accompanying the video on the social media platform X reads, “Chandrayaan-3 Mission: The rover was rotated in search of a safe route. The rotation was captured by a Lander Imager Camera. It feels as though a child is playfully frolicking in the yards of Chandamama, while the mother watches affectionately. Isn’t it?” ISRO adorably used mother-child imagery and the term ‘chandamama,’ with which many Indians share a nostalgic connection, as the lunar mission progresses.
Chandrayaan 3 mission has two-way communication with ground
The presented video showcases the Pragyan rover skillfully navigating a safe path for lunar exploration. Unlike a fully automatic vehicle, the rover operates under the guidance of commands issued from ISRO’s Mission Operations Complex (MOX), stationed at the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru.
While it cannot directly communicate via ground stations, the rover transmits signals to the lander, which possesses the capability to interface with MOX. Alternatively, the lander can relay data to the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which in turn transmits it to ISRO’s ground stations.
Sulphur presence re-confirmed
Earlier today, the space agency released a video illustrating an automated hinge mechanism in action, orchestrating the rotation of the 18 cm tall Alpha Particle X-ray Spectroscope (APXS). This action aligns the detector head to be approximately five centimetres in proximity to the lunar surface. ISRO further reported that the APXS has successfully identified sulphur, along with other minor elements on the lunar terrain.
“This finding by Ch-3 compels scientists to develop fresh explanations for the source of Sulphur (S) in the area: intrinsic?, volcanic?, meteoritic?,……?” the post said.
The Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) instrument onboard the rover has already substantiated the presence of sulphur, adding to the growing body of knowledge about lunar composition and characteristics.