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Chandrayaan-3 rover comes across crater on lunar surface, commanded to retrace path

A combo of two photos shows a crator (L) that the Chandrayaan-3 Rover Pragyan encountered on Aug. 27, 2023, and the path (R) retraced by it on the lunar surface, as seen by the navigation camera onboard the Rover. A PTI Photo

BENGALURU (PTI):  Chandrayaan-3 mission's rover 'Pragyan' came across a four-metre diameter crater just ahead of its location on lunar surface before it was commanded to retrace its path, ISRO has said.

It's now safely heading on a new path, the Bengaluru-headquartered national space agency said on Monday in a social media post.

ISRO said the rover came across a four-metre diameter crater located three metres ahead of its location on August 27. "The rover was commanded to retrace the path," it added.

ISRO on Sunday released the first observations from the ChaSTE payload onboard the 'Vikram' lander of the country's third lunar mission Chandrayaan-3.

ChaSTE (Chandra's Surface Thermophysical Experiment) measures the temperature profile of the lunar topsoil around the pole, to understand the thermal behaviour of the Moon's surface.

It has a temperature probe equipped with a controlled penetration mechanism capable of reaching a depth of 10 cm beneath the surface. The probe is fitted with 10 individual temperature sensors.

ISRO came out with a graph illustrating the temperature variations of the lunar surface/near-surface at various depths, as recorded during the probe's penetration. This is the first such profile for the lunar south pole. Detailed observations are underway, the space agency said.

ISRO has said two of the three Chandrayaan-3 mission objectives have been achieved while the third -- in-situ scientific experiments -- are underway.

India last Wednesday scripted history as the Chandrayaan-3's lander module touched down on the lunar surface, making it only the fourth country to accomplish the feat, and the first to reach near the uncharted south pole of Earth's only natural satellite.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi last Saturday announced the decision to name the spot where Chandrayaan-3 Vikram lander made the soft landing as Shiv Shakti Point' and the site where the Chandrayaan-2 lander crash-landed on the Moon's surface in 2019 would be known as 'Tiranga Point'.

Also, August 23, the day the Chandrayaan-3 lander touched down on the lunar surface, would be celebrated as National Space Day', Modi had said.

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