Chandrayaan-3’s Lunar Exploration: Unveiling the Moon’s Thermal Secrets and Future Potential

Chandrayaan-3’s Lunar Exploration: Unveiling the Moon’s Thermal Secrets and Future Potential

Following the historic landing on the lunar surface, Chandrayaan-3 has embarked on its mission. The Chandrayaan-3 mission had three objectives: soft landing of the lander, rover Pragyan’s separation from lander Vikram and exploration of the lunar surface, and operation of the mission with the seven onboard instruments.

Now, the mission has entered its third phase, where various experiments are being conducted using the instruments onboard, and data analysis is underway. In the midst of this, it’s important to understand what Chandrayaan-3 is, when it descended to the moon, what it’s currently doing on the lunar surface, and what data it has collected so far. Let’s delve into the details.

What is Chandrayaan-3?

Chandrayaan-3 is the next phase of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which is aimed at exploring the lunar surface. Like Chandrayaan-2, it consists of a lander and a rover. The focus of Chandrayaan-3 is to achieve a safe landing on the moon’s surface. Lessons learned from Chandrayaan-2’s experiences were utilized in refining algorithms and developing new instruments to enhance the chances of success.

When did Chandrayaan-3 Land on the Moon?

The mission was launched on July 14 at 2:35 PM from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. According to the plan, it successfully landed on the moon on August 23. With this achievement, India became the fourth country in the world to achieve a soft landing on the moon after the United States, Russia, and China. Additionally, India became the first country to land near the southern pole of the moon.

Current Activities on the Moon’s Surface

ISRO announced that two out of the three objectives of the Chandrayaan-3 mission have been accomplished, while work is ongoing for the third objective. All payloads onboard the mission are functioning as expected. The mission’s third objective involves operating with the seven onboard instruments to gather data from the lunar surface.

Recent developments involve the release of data from the ChaSTE (Chandrayaan Surface Thermal Experiment) instrument, which was designed to study the thermal conductivity of the lunar surface. This instrument has provided crucial insights into the thermal behavior of the moon’s south pole.

Data Collected So Far

The ChaSTE instrument on the Vikram lander is primarily designed to study the thermal conductivity of the lunar surface. It’s also measuring temperature variations at different locations both on the surface and underneath the moon. This information helps understand the thermal properties of the moon’s surface and its subsurface.

The data obtained by ChaSTE has revealed significant temperature fluctuations on the lunar south pole. The surface temperature varies from 50 to 60 degrees Celsius, while just 10 centimeters below the surface, the temperature drops to around -10 degrees Celsius. These measurements provide valuable insights into the thermal behavior of the moon’s surface.

Significance of the Data

The thermal profile of the lunar surface will be instrumental in planning upcoming lunar missions, including NASA’s Artemis-3 mission scheduled for 2025. The experience of astronauts landing on the moon and the materials used there will be informed by this data.

This data will also aid scientists in understanding the moon’s physical structure, radiation levels, and seismic activities. The possible presence of water trapped beneath ice also adds to the intrigue of lunar exploration. Water is not only vital for sustaining human presence but also holds potential as a fuel resource.

Ultimately, the goal of these missions is to establish a permanent station on the moon, similar to the International Space Station, where continuous scientific experiments can be conducted and space travelers can regularly visit. This will only be possible when scientists can utilize the resources available on the moon’s surface for constructing fundamental infrastructure.

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