India’s third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, is right on track. The plan to touch down on the lunar south pole come August 23 is also on track, as per a mission update shared by ISRO.
According to ISRO, everything’s running like clockwork with regular checks on their systems, and they’re sailing through the mission smoothly. They even threw in a tweet saying, “The Mission Operations Complex (MOX) is buzzing with energy & excitement!”
ISRO also treated us to some fresh moon snapshots. These were taken by the Lander Position Detection Camera (LPDC) from about 70 km up on August 19, 2023.
These images play a vital role in helping the Lander Module figure out its exact spot (latitude and longitude) by matching what it sees against a map of the moon that’s stored onboard.
India is aiming to achieve a remarkable milestone by becoming the first nation to reach the unexplored south pole of Earth’s exclusive natural companion, the Moon. The mission is carried out by a dynamic duo: the LM, which consists of the lander named Vikram and its trusted partner, the rover Pragyaan.
The pivotal moment is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:04 PM, when they’re set to execute a gentle landing in the vicinity of the Moon’s southern polar zone.
Should the Chandrayaan-3 mission successfully achieve a lunar touchdown and flawlessly land a robotic lunar rover – a second attempt by ISRO within a span of four years – India would join an elite group of countries that have mastered the intricate art of softly touching down on the moon’s surface. This group currently includes the United States, China, and the former Soviet Union.
Chandrayaan-3 follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2, with the mission’s key goals being to showcase a secure and gentle landing on the lunar surface, navigate and explore the Moon’s terrain, and carry out on-site scientific experiments.
The budget for the Chandrayaan-3 mission, amounting to Rs 600 crore, funded an ambitious venture launched on July 14 using the robust Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM-3) rocket. This spacecraft embarked on a 41-day journey with its sights set on the lunar south pole.
The upcoming soft landing attempt holds significance, especially in light of Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft recent mishap. Luna-25’s unfortunate crash into the Moon followed a period of uncontrolled spinning.