Chandrayaan-3's Pragyan Indian lunar rover has completed its mission, for now

Chandrayaan-3's Pragyan Indian lunar rover has completed its mission, for now

India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission collected important scientific and engineering data for ISRO. Now the Indian space agency has announced that the Pragyan rover has entered sleep-mode in anticipation of a new lunar dawn. by Mattia Speroni published on 02 September 2023, at 20:32 in the ISRO Science and Technology channel The Indian Chandrayaan-3 mission is currently a complete success, managing not only to reach lunar orbit but also to perform a soft-landing (on 23 August), to place a small rover, Pragyan, on the surface of the Moon, and to collect both engineering and scientific data. India is therefore confirmed as a nation that is investing in aerospace research and which, in the future, could represent a new resource for the Artemis program (of which it is a part). We previously wrote about how science experiments aboard landers and rovers have yielded interesting results for scientists with the data still being downloaded for study in the coming weeks and months. The mission did not have a long duration initially foreseen and with the passage of time the end of operations is approaching. By feeding the batteries only through the solar panels, with the end of the lunar day there will be no possibility of operating without light. The hope is that when the sun rises again in the landing zone the system will be able to start working again. There is no guarantee on this, but ISRO will be ready in case this happens. The Pragyan rover of Chandrayaan-3 has been “put to rest” In recent days, attention has focused in particular on the Pragyan rover of the Chandrayaan-3 mission. This unit is much more limited and smaller than others we have known such as Curiosity or Perseverance (on Mars) and more similar to Yutu-2 of the Chinese Chang’e-4 mission or NASA’s Sojourner. Thanks to the scientific experiments on board it was still important to collect information on the composition of the soil in that area of ​​the Moon as well as taking photographs of the Vikram lander. ISRO confirmed that the rover moved more than 100 meters on the surface of the Moon while remaining in the vicinity of the lander. In fact, the rover can only communicate with Vikram and not directly with the orbiters or with the Earth as it does not have antennas powerful enough to send signals. Thanks to the experience gained, it will be possible to develop more advanced and larger units capable of carrying out more operations for a longer time. The Indian space agency then added that the Pragyan rover of the Chandrayaan-3 mission has been put “in sleep-mode”. This is because the rover completed its assigned tasks with the APXS and LIBS science experiments being shut down. The data was sent to the control center. The battery has been fully charged and the solar panel is oriented to receive the sun’s rays when the next sunrise is scheduled for September 22nd. As previously reported, tests on Earth confirmed that landers and rovers (particularly the electrical parts) could withstand extreme temperatures while waiting for the Sun to rise again. However, there is no certainty about what will happen. Even if the lander and rover do not “wake up” the mission will be declared a complete success as the estimated useful life was about one solar day.

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