Chandrayaan’s Pragyan Rover drives 8 meters on the moon around Shiv Shati Point

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has recently announced that the Pragyan rover has successfully traversed a distance of about 8 meters. The Pragyan rover, which descended from the belly of the Vikram lander according to the Indian space agency, has started its in-situ experiments as well. ISRO has been sharing the major updates on the Chandrayaan-3 mission on X (formerly Twitter). Amongst the updates, two of the biggest were the sharing of videos showing Vikram lander’s ramp deployment and the descent of the Pragyan rover.

ISRO recently shared a tweet: “Chandrayaan-3 Mission: All planned Rover movements have been verified. The Rover has successfully traversed a distance of about 8 meters. Rover payloads LIBS and APXS are turned ON. All payloads on the propulsion module, lander module, and rover are performing nominally. #Chandrayaan_3 #Ch3.” Prior to this tweet, the space agency also shared a tweet stating: “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.”

Apart from these text updates, the three biggest updates given by ISRO were the three different videos of the Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover. The latest video that has been shared shows the Pragyan rover moving forward on the lunar surface. ISRO has shared this video on Twitter with the caption stating, “What’s new here? Pragyan rover roams around Shiv Shakti Point in pursuit of lunar secrets at the South Pole!”

The other two videos shared by ISRO showed the ramp deployment of the Vikram lander. Meanwhile, the other video showed the descent of the Pragyan rover from the belly of the Vikram lander. In the second video, the rover opening its solar panel was shown, followed by its descent onto the moon’s surface for the first time.

The Pragyan rover is one of the most advanced pieces of equipment that has been produced by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). This rover, which is an integral part of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, will be used over 14 days for scientific exploration on the moon’s surface.

Weighing 26 kg, Pragyaan’s compact yet sophisticated design has been carefully created by ISRO to withstand the harsh lunar environment. The rover has been equipped with six wheels and a rocker-bogie suspension system. It will navigate the lunar surface at a cautious 1 cm per second, ensuring a thorough examination of its surroundings. Like the Vikram lander’s ramp, the Pragyan rover draws its power with the help of a solar panel. As mentioned, the Pragyan rover will be operational during a window that spans a lunar day, or 14 Earth days.

For the in-situ experiments, the Lunar rover has been equipped with two cutting-edge scientific instruments: the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and the Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS). APXS will help in-depth chemical analysis of the moon’s surface by bombarding it with alpha particles, aiding in analyzing its elemental composition. LIBS, meanwhile, will employ a laser beam to generate plasma from the lunar surface, providing insights into its elemental content.

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