Indian lunar rover completed its journey

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced the completion of the main scientific program of the Pragyan lunar rover. It was put into hibernation mode. 

The descent platform of the Chandrayaan-3 mission. Source: ISRO

Pragyan arrived on the Moon on August 23 aboard the descent platform of the Chandrayaan-3 mission. A few hours after landing, it left for the lunar surface. In the following days, the 26-kilogram vehicle traveled about a hundred meters, took a series of pictures, and also conducted studies of the chemical composition of the regolith. Aluminum, iron, calcium, chromium, titanium, manganese, oxygen and silicon, as well as sulfur were found in it. 

The approach of the lunar night marked the end of the scientific program of the mission. Pragyan does not have radioisotope heating elements, and most likely will not survive a two-week overnight stay at temperatures falling below -120 °C. 

Nevertheless, ISRO engineers have taken all possible measures to increase the chances of survival of the lunar rover. Its battery was fully charged, the radio receiver was turned on, and the rover was oriented in such a way that the rising Sun illuminated its solar battery. It remains to be seen on September 22 whether this plan will succeed or not.

The survival of the Pragyan will depend not only on the state of its electronics, but also on the fate of the Vikram landing platform, which also does not have radioisotope heaters. It is used as a repeater of the data collected by the lunar rover.

Shortly before nightfall, Vikram was involved in a curious experiment. In its course, engineers reactivated the platform’s engines. It made a small jump, rising up about 40 cm and landing 40 cm from the previous point. The data obtained during this test will be useful in the preparation of the next ISRO missions, the purpose of which will be the delivery of lunar soil to Earth.

According to

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