BENGALURU: A day after Chandrayaan-3 lander Vikram touched down on Moon’s south polar region, Isro on Thursday switched on the payloads on Vikram and started moving Pragyan, the rover, on the lunar surface.
“All activities are on schedule and all systems are normal. Rover mobility operations have commenced,” Isro said, adding that three of the lander payloads, Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA), Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA) and Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE), were turned on.The space agency had, on Sunday, activated the Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload on the propulsion module.
On why the rover took more than four hours to roll out, Isro chairman S Somanath told TOI: “After the landing, we had to check the inclination, terrain condition and temperatures, and wait for the lunar dust to settle. The rover came out late last night.”He said the payloads on the rover would also be switched on late on Thursday night.
Chandrayaan-2 orbiter has sent over 65TB data since 2019
Once all payloads on Vikram and Pragyan begin working, India’s lunar data repository will get richer. India now has 15 scientific instruments studying a variety of things on Moon and, from there, Sun and Earth. Of these, eight are on Chandrayaan-2 orbiter circling Moon since 2019. India has received over 65 terabytes (TB) of data from the orbiter (1TB is equivalent to 500 hours of movies).
Most of this data, about 60TB, has come from four major instruments developed by Space Applications Centre (SAC): Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC), Imaging InfraRed Spectrometer (IIRS), Orbiter High Resolution Camera (OHRC) and Dual Frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar (DFSAR). SAC director Nilesh M Desai told TOI: “Placed in its intended orbit around Moon in August 2019, the orbiter continues to enrich our understanding of Moon’s evolution and mapping of its minerals and water molecules in the polar regions using its eight state-of-the-art scientific instruments, four of which were built by us.”


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About 4.5TB of data has come from Solar X-ray Monitor (XSM), which detects X-rays emitted by Sun and its corona. This was developed by Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad. Anil Bharadwaj, director, PRL, said: “XSM has done some pathbreaking observations which support findings of another instrument on the orbiter called CLASS (Chandrayaan-2 Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer) developed by UR Rao Satellite Centre, which studies the X-rays coming from the Sun and how they get scattered by elements from the lunar surface.”

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