The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been posting images and videos of its lunar rover to X (formerly Twitter) after successfully soft-landing its Chandrayaan-3 lunar module on the Moon’s south pole last week. The posts include footage of the rover’s exit and its first several meters of driving as well as pictures from the rover itself and data from the mission’s instruments.
The first video of the rover, posted on Friday, shows it leaving the Chandrayaan-3 lander on a ramp and driving onto the Moon. The ISRO posted the video in a thread that also included footage from the lander approaching its landing site and kicking up dust as it touched down on the surface.
… … and here is how the Chandrayaan-3 Rover ramped down from the Lander to the Lunar surface. pic.twitter.com/nEU8s1At0W
— ISRO (@isro) August 25, 2023
The ISRO wrote afterward that the rover’s two scientific instruments had been turned on and that it had moved eight meters. On Saturday, the ISRO uploaded a new video to X, shot from the lander, of the rover’s drive away, moving almost out of the lander’s sight.
What’s new here?
Pragyan rover roams around Shiv Shakti Point in pursuit of lunar secrets at the South Pole ! pic.twitter.com/1g5gQsgrjM
— ISRO (@isro) August 26, 2023
This morning, the ISRO published two pictures after the rover encountered a large crater and needed a path correction.
India’s stated goals for its lunar mission are to successfully land on the Moon and demonstrate the country can drive its rover on the surface as well as to “conduct in-situ scientific experiments” using instruments on the rover and the lander itself.
Both the lander and rover are equipped to take measurements of the lunar environment. Using one of the lander’s payloads — called the “Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment” — Indian scientists published a graph of lunar surface temperature data, gathered with a probe inserted about eight centimeters into the topsoil that shows drastic temperature changes between the lunar surface and the soil beneath.
Here are the first observations from the ChaSTE payload onboard Vikram Lander.
ChaSTE (Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment) measures the temperature profile of the lunar topsoil around the pole, to understand the thermal behaviour of the moon’s… https://t.co/VZ1cjWHTnd
— ISRO (@isro) August 27, 2023
India’s successful landing on the lunar surface came just days after the failure of the Russian Luna 25 lander, which was also bound for the Moon’s south pole.