Chandrayaan-3: How important are India’s Moon mission findings?

A photo of the Vikram lander taken by Pragyaan rover on WednesdayIsro

India made history last month when it was the first nation to launch a celestial objective close to the north pole of the Moon.

The lander and rover of Chandrayaan – 3 — known as Vikram and PragyaAN — stayed in the area for about 10 days, gathering information and images that were then sent back to Earth for analysis.

Experts put them to sleep earlier this month as the Sun started to set on the Moon. The lander-rover needs sunlight to recharge its batteries in order to operate. Isro, the nation’s area research organization, expressed the hope that they would awaken” around 22 September” when the following lunar day begins.

Isro has shared pictures of them as well as regular updates on their whereabouts and studies.

Many Indians are enthusiastic about these updates, but others have been curious about the impact of these findings.

Previous NASA scientist and co-founder of the Delhi-based place education company Stem and Space, Mila Mitra was tasked by the BBC with selecting some of Chandrayaan-3’s key findings and outlining their significance.

The length traveled- and avoided craters

Isro reported that Pragyaan” has traversed over 100m ] 328 feet ] and is continuing” hours before the rover was put to sleep on September 2.

For the six-wheeled vehicle, which travels at a rate of 1 cm per second, that’s quite some distance to travel.

The fact that it has managed to stay healthy and prevent falling into the holes that dot the Moon’s little-explored southern pole region, according to Ms. Mitra, is also important.

She claims that the rover’s unique wheel system, known as the rocker bogie, prevents all of its wheels from moving in unison, allowing it to travel both up and down, but if it falls into a serious crater, it might not be able to exit. Therefore, it’s crucial to force it to circle the holes or even go backwards. And that is carried out by researchers at the command center who are” watching the Moon through the spacecraft’s eyes ,” Ms. Mitra continues.

The command center, which acts on the basis of the images it sends, controls the rover’s activities and it is not automated.

Because of the detour they take, there is a little wait before they arrive at the command center. Pragyaan sends them over to the spacecraft, which then launches them into the spacecraft and passes them on Earth.

The distance covered by the lunar rover


Presentational white space

Therefore, the risk is a few steps closer by the time the order reaches the rovers.

However, Ms. Mitra adds that the fact that it was able to properly navigate around two craters demonstrates how fast it can communicate with the command center.

hot and cold whipping

A probe on board the Vikram lander’s initial set of data from the lunar topsoil and up to 10 cm( 4 inches ) below the surface revealed a significant temperature difference between the two regions.

It dropped sharply below the surface, dropping to – 10C at 80mm( roughly 3 inches ) below ground, despite the temperature being close to 60C there.

The Moon is renowned for its extremely high temperatures; according to NASA, daytime temperatures near the lunar equator can reach boiling 120C ( 250F ), while nighttime lows can drop to – 130C ( 208F ). Additionally, temperatures of – 250C(- 410F ) have been measured at craters that never experience sunlight and are always covered in shadows.

However, according to Ms. Mitra, this important temperature variation is due to the fact that the solar regolith, or Moon’s soil, is a very effective insulator.

This may imply that it could be used to create place colonies to block out heat, cold, and radiation. She claims that by doing this, it may act as a natural habitat metal.

Additionally, it might be a sign that there is water snow below the floor.

An explanation of the Moon’s development

Numerous chemicals, including aluminum, magnesium, copper, chromium, platinum, titanium, golden, and air, were discovered when a laser detection mounted on the vehicle was used to measure the chemical composition of the lunar surface near the south pole.

But according to experts, the most significant studies are related to sulfur. The instrument’s” first-ever in-situ” measurement in the initial space” explicitly confirms” the presence of sulfur, according to Isro.

Sulfur’s presence on the Moon has been known since the 1970s, but according to scientists, it is” a tremendous success” that the vehicle was able to measure sulfate on its own surface rather than inside a mineral or as part of crystal.

The presence of sulfur in the ground, according to Ms. Mitra, is important on a number of counts.

This will advance our understanding of how the Moon was formed, how it evolved, and its geographical because sulfur typically comes from mountains.

It also suggests that there is water ice on the lunar area, and since sulfur is a good fertilizer, it is great news because it can aid in plant growth if there are habitats there.

Was there actually a moonquake?

The Vikram spacecraft carries a device that measures vibrations coming from both the vehicle and its activities as well as its own research and experiments.

Isro claimed that the Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity ( Ilsa ) was recording” an event, appearing to be a natural one” and looking into its source while keeping its ear to the ground.

The lander recorded an event "appearing to be a natural one"


There could be a number of explanations for this, Ms. Mitra adds, adding that this event’s bounty was much greater and consequently significantly stronger.

” Space debris, like a rock or an asteroid, could be hitting the edge.” Or it might be tectonic, making it the first Moonquake to be observed since the 1970s. The landscape and what lies beneath the Moon’s floor could then be explained in that case.

What exactly is celestial blood?

Many people questioned what it meant when Isro announced on X( previously Twitter ) that a probe on the lander had completed the” first – ever measurements of the near-surface lunar plasma environment” in the south polar region and found it to be” relatively sparse.”

According to Ms. Mitra, the term” blood” describes the presence of charged particles in the atmosphere that could obstruct Chandrayaan-3’s radio wave communication.

It is great news that it is extremely limited or skinny because it will significantly lessen radio communication.

The rover hopped when

Isro referred to the Vikram lander’s final act before being put to sleep in early September as a” fly study.”

The lander was” commanded to fire its engines, it rose up by about 40cm ] 16 inches ] and landed at a distance of 30 to 40 cm ,” according to the agency.

On Monday Isro released images of the pre- and post-hop of Vikram lander

The aircraft could be used in the potential for human missions or to return samples to Earth thanks to this” successful trial ,” it was added.

May India’s future space plans benefit greatly from this quick hop, then?

The” hop tested restarting the engine after a lunar landing to make sure it is still operating fine ,” according to Ms. Mitra.

Since the testing and actual lift-off have so far only come from Earth, it also showed that the ship has the” capacity for raise – away in a celestial soil environment ,” she continues.