New Delhi: The rover ‘Pragyan’ of India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission has successfully performed a ‘moonwalk’ on the lunar surface, travelling a distance of 8 meters, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced on Friday. The rover’s payloads, LIBS and APXS, are functioning properly and collecting data on the chemical and mineralogical composition of the soil and rocks around the landing site. Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram Lander made a safe landing near the Moon’s south pole on Wednesday, making India the first country to achieve such a feat. The ‘moonwalk’ is a dance move that became famous after Michael Jackson performed it during his song ‘Billie Jean’ on ‘Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever’.
The space agency posted on social media platform X, “All planned rover activities have been verified. The rover has successfully covered a distance of about eight meters. Rover instruments LIBS and APXS are operational. It also said that all the equipment on the propulsion module, lander, and rover are working normally.
The instrument ‘Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer’ (APXS) aims to study the chemical composition and mineralogical composition of the lunar surface. The ‘Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope’ (LIBS) is to investigate the elemental composition of soil and rocks around the landing site on the Moon.
ISRO said on Thursday that the lander equipment ILSA, Rambha, and Chest have been made operational. The instrument called the Lunar Surface Thermo-Physics Experiment (CHEST) will measure the thermal properties of the lunar surface. India created history on Wednesday when Chandrayaan-3 successfully ‘soft landed’ on the Moon’s south pole region.
The rover will continue to explore the Moon for the next two weeks and conduct pre-determined experiments. According to ISRO, the Moon rover has APXS and LIBS to get the fundamental composition around the landing site.
The lander will also carry out its assigned tasks with its payload. It will carry out experiments such as analysis of the lunar surface, measurement of seismic waves around the landing site, and estimation of plasma density and its variations. A NASA passive laser retroreflector array is adjusted for lunar laser ranging studies.
ISRO said that the mission life of the lander and rover is 1 lunar day or 14 Earth days. The director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC), Dr. Unnikrishnan Nair said, “The rover rolled from the lander to the surface of the moon at around 12.30 am on Thursday. He is roaming here and there. It is leaving its mark on the surface of the Moon. ISRO’s logo and national emblem are engraved on the wheels of the rover so that it can leave its mark on the lunar surface as it moves. Unnikrishnan said that the rover will collect lunar samples and send data to the lander using it.