Footage from India’s space agency shows the Chandrayaan-3 rover making history. The rover moved and rolled across the moon’s surface.
The image shows the Pragyaan rover sliding down a ramp as it exited the lander and glided on the lunar surface. Pragyaan is Sanskrit for wisdom. It's an apt moniker for a machine that would gather information.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) shared the video hours after the landing. It was a big achievement for the country. It was the first to land closest to the south pole.
The Vikram lander touched down on August 23 and paved the way for India to join a rarefied group of countries. It joined China, the US, and the former Soviet Union in achieving a soft landing on the Moon. ISRO reported the following day that the rover went down the ramp. The 26k rover then declared that "India took a walk on the Moon!”
That was clear in ISRO’s video. It showed the Pragyaan stepping out into a patch of sunshine. The rover is now roaming at a speed of 1 cm a second around the lunar surface. It collects critical images and data that are then sent back to Earth for study.
Pragyaan was also designed to carry two specific scientific instruments. These will try to uncover what minerals are on the moon’s surface. It will also study the soil’s chemical composition. The rover is also designed with the ISRO’s emblem embossed on its wheels. This means it’s leaving behind an imprint of the space agency’s logo with each step it takes.
The rover will also be communicating with the lander on a regular basis. It will send information from Chandrayaan-2 to the orbiter. The data is then sent back to Earth.
ISRO has posted several messages on social media. X received the first message from the space agency on August 28. It shared that the Rover discovered a crater with a diameter of 4 meters.
The following day ISRO InSight posted a greeting from the Pragyaan Rover. It mentioned that it and its friend Vikram Lander are in touch. The Rover also reported that it was on its way to uncover the moon’s secrets. It also promised that the best was coming soon.
The Pragyaan landed at the start of a lunar day. It was momentous as it meant the rover would have enough energy to recharge its batteries. A day on the Moon lasts about one Earth month. The rover will have about 14 days of sunlight to power up its batteries. The batteries will stop working at night. But India is uncertain if it will start working again on the next lunar day.