India’s Chandrayaan-3 moon rover has embarked on its journey to explore the surface of the lunar south pole and conduct experiments, ready to face new challenges, according to the head of the country’s space agency.
Having landed successfully on the unexplored lunar south pole, India has achieved a remarkable feat, becoming the first country to do so and even surpassing Russia’s recent Luna-25 mission, which encountered difficulties.
The precise touchdown of the lander was met with jubilation and celebration in the nation and was deemed a significant scientific milestone for India.
S. Somanath, the chief of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), reported that both the lander and the rover, named “Pragyan,” were in excellent condition. Despite their readiness, the actual experiments have yet to commence.
The rover is equipped with instruments for elemental and chemical composition experiments, as well as a robotic path planning exercise for future missions. “Pragyan” is expected to operate for about two weeks, equivalent to one lunar day.
Challenges, however, lie ahead. Lunar dust and temperature fluctuations on the moon’s surface pose unique problems for ISRO. Lunar dust, differing from Earth’s, could hinder rover movement by sticking to its components. The absence of air on the moon could also impact moving parts due to temperature variations.
Somanath emphasized the exploratory nature of the mission, stating that facing such challenges is a crucial aspect of their pursuit of knowledge. He explained, “If everything is known, what is the fun in doing it?”
India accomplished this mission with a budget of around 6.15 billion rupees ($75 million). This marks the country’s second attempt at a lunar landing. The rugged terrain of the lunar south pole, rich in water ice, adds complexity to landing attempts, yet its potential for resources like fuel and drinking water makes it an alluring destination.
The success of the mission not only enhances India’s space prowess but also ignites national pride, uniting people across the country and resonating globally as a symbol of human achievement.