US space agency NASA has released an image of Chandrayaan-3 lander 'Vikram' on the lunar surface, which was captured by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.
The Chandrayaan-3 lander is in the centre of the image, and its dark shadow is visible against the bright halo surrounding the Vikram, PTI said in its report.
.@NASA's LRO spacecraft recently imaged the Chandrayaan-3 lander on the Moon’s surface.— NASA Marshall (@NASA_Marshall) September 5, 2023
The ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) Chandrayaan-3 touched down on Aug. 23, 2023, about 600 kilometers from the Moon’s South Pole.
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"@NASA's LRO spacecraft recently imaged the Chandrayaan-3 lander on the Moon’s surface. The ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) Chandrayaan-3 touched down on Aug 23, 2023, about 600 kilometres from the Moon’s South Pole,” NASA said on social media platform 'X'.
NASA said its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) acquired an oblique view (42-degree slew angle) of the lander four days later, it mentioned.
It added the bright halo around the vehicle resulted from the rocket plume interacting with the fine-grained regolith (soil).
ISRO's decision to pursue a soft landing on the lunar South Pole with Chandrayaan-3 is driven by several compelling reasons.
The main goal of Chandrayaan-3 is to deploy a lander and rover in the elevated regions of the Moon situated close to its southern pole.
This mission aims to showcase the complete process of landing and rover movement. Beyond displaying the ability to safely and gently land and move across the lunar terrain, Chandrayaan-3 seeks to achieve other objectives as well. These encompass carrying out on-site scientific investigations, as well as creating and validating novel technologies essential for future interplanetary endeavors.
Due to its resemblance to Earth's diversity, investigating the lunar South Pole presents an opportunity for scientists to gain insights into the conditions that existed on Earth billions of years ago. Additionally, this exploration holds the potential to provide indications about the feasibility of future lunar colonization.
The presence of water-ice reserves, particularly beneath the Polar Regions, adds to the intrigue surrounding these areas and motivates space agencies to undertake polar exploration efforts. A noteworthy precursor to this was Chandrayaan-1's Moon Impact Probe, which suggested the existence of water molecules beneath the Moon's outer layer. Consequently, space research organizations are motivated to delve deeper into this discovery by dispatching spacecraft to the lunar poles, thereby conducting comprehensive experiments on the lunar surface.
Characterized by their darkness, distinct topography, and geological features, the lunar poles provide an environment conducive to the retention of water molecules in the icy state. Numerous remote observations have been conducted, the majority of which have provided indications pointing towards the likelihood of subsurface water-ice reservoirs on the Moon.