Chandrayaan-3, a monumental lunar mission embarked upon by India, stands as a pioneering endeavor in the global space exploration landscape. Successfully accomplishing a soft landing near the Moon’s South Pole, this mission is a gateway to uncharted lunar territories, potentially brimming with invaluable resources like frozen water. As India’s maiden voyage to the Moon’s lesser-explored regions, this mission is positioned as a significant technological triumph, marking India’s ascent into a select league of lunar pioneers alongside the US, the Soviet Union, and China.
Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover’s Arrival
With a triumphant landing on the lunar surface at 6:04 pm, Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover made history, sparking jubilation across India, particularly in Bengaluru where the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) command center erupted with celebratory cheers and applause. This marked a momentous achievement after India’s prior attempt faced setbacks in 2019.
Understanding Chandrayaan-3’s Mission Duration
Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover, reliant on solar energy, are designed to operate for one lunar day – equivalent to approximately 14 Earth days. Sunlight plays a pivotal role in sustaining their functionality. The lunar day commenced on August 23, enabling the soft landing and subsequent exploration of the Moon’s South Pole.
Sunlight’s Crucial Role
The timing of Chandrayaan-3’s lunar landing was meticulously selected to coincide with the period of sunlight illumination, or the lunar day. This ensures that the lander and rover remain operational. Following 14 Earth days, this region of the Moon will plunge into darkness for the next phase, with temperatures ranging from zero to minus 180 degrees Celsius.
Mission Extension Possibility
While Chandrayaan-3’s mission duration aligns with one lunar day, ISRO officials have not ruled out the prospect of extending Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover’s operational life for an additional lunar day. However, this is contingent upon their adaptability to extreme lunar conditions, particularly the absence of sunlight.
Inevitable Lunar Permanence
As the lunar journey concludes, none of Chandrayaan-3’s components or devices will return to Earth. Instead, they will remain eternally positioned on the Moon, adding to the legacy of scientific exploration.
Chandrayaan-3’s Rs 600 crore mission, launched on July 14, marked India’s determined progress in space exploration. The mission’s success is a testament to India’s space capabilities, contributing significantly to the understanding of the Moon’s South Pole region and its potential water resources.