After “20 minutes of terror,” Chandrayaan-3 has touched down on the Moon. The Vikram lander and Pragyan rover, each carrying six scientific payloads, have one lunar day, or 14 Earth days, to collect enough data to pique the interests of scientists across the world.
The solar-powered Pragyan rover, which left its mark on the Moon late last night with ISRO proclaiming “India takes a walk on the Moon,” will slow down after a fortnight because this is the duration of the “sunlight cycle” on the lunar surface.
How long will Vikram and Pragyan be on the moon?
Only 14 days remain for Vikram and Pragyan until the Moon goes to sleep.
In other words, the Moon will experience a night that lasts another 14 Earth days after the first one. Due to the lack of solar power and, more crucially, damaging nighttime temperatures that can reach -208 degrees Fahrenheit or -133 degrees Celsius, the rover, the lander, and the payloads may not be completely functioning during this period.
The rover will be in contact with the lander during this period, and it will transmit data to the mission control centre of ISRO. During this time, ISRO won’t have a direct connection to the rover.
The Ultimate Landing
Chandrayaan-3’s landing date was planned by the many scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with the same accuracy and precision that enabled them to successfully land the 1,752 kg Vikram lander, which included the Pragyan rover, approximately 400,000 kilometres from Earth.
The choice of August 23 as the landing date was made because it marked the beginning of one lunar day/night cycle. Vikram may have landed on August 24 if that day’s attempt had failed, according to ISRO’s backup plan. After a full day/night cycle on the moon, ISRO allegedly planned to attempt again 29 days later if there was still no touch down (and the lander was intact).
Why The South Pole Of The Moon?
No other spacecraft has ever managed to make a gentle landing close to the Moon’s South Pole, making Chandrayaan-3 unique. This region is full of craters and deep pits and is distant from the equatorial zone that other missions, like as NASA’s crewed Apollo landings, have as their aim.
Contrary to what some Indian MPs may think, neither the Pragyan rover nor the Vikram lander will undertake a return trip to Earth. The propulsion module that brought them won’t either.