Chandrayaan-3s rover Pragyan
Rover 'Pragyan' disembarking from the lander 'Vikram'.

Chandrayaan completes a week on Moon: Top 10 highlights

It has been an eventful week for the moon mission, and an exciting one for its avid followers

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Exactly seven days have passed since the successful soft landing of the lander 'Vikram' from the Chandrayaan-3 mission on the moon. With the rover 'Pragyan' roving on the celestial body's south pole, this attempt put India in a select club of space-faring nations comprising of the erstwhile Soviet Union, USA, and China. This endeavour also ensured India became the first country to reach the dark side of the moon.

1. Merely a few hours following the gentle touchdown on the lunar terrain, ISRO promptly unveiled the first image taken by lander Vikram's camera. The photograph offered a glimpse of Chandrayaan-3's designated landing spot.

2. On the morning of August 24, the Indian space agency announced a major achievement, proclaiming that "India took its first steps on the moon." This milestone was marked by Chandrayaan-3's robotic rover successfully disembarking from the lander and moving around in its vicinity.

3. According to ISRO, two out of the three primary objectives of the Chandrayaan-3 mission have been accomplished, with the third objective, involving in-situ scientific experiments, currently in progress. The agency further noted that all the mission's payloads are functioning smoothly and as expected.

4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi revealed that the area where the Vikram lander successfully executed a gentle touchdown will now be designated as ‘Shiv Shakti Point’. The location where the Chandrayaan-2 lander unfortunately crash-landed on the Moon's surface in 2019 will be referred to as ‘Tiranga Point’.

5. August 23 – the day India landed on the moon, will be henceforth celebrated as “National Space Day”.

6. Former ISRO Chairman K Sivan clarified that categorising Chandrayaan-3 as a "failure-based design" is incorrect. He insisted that Chandrayaan-3 addresses the shortcomings observed during Chandrayaan-2 and incorporates upgrades across various parameters.

7. ISRO unveiled a temperature graph depicting lunar surface variations. A senior scientist from the agency expressed astonishment at the extremely high temperatures registered on the Moon. The space agency disclosed that the Chandra's Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) payload, part of Chandrayaan-3's Vikram lander, gauged temperature patterns in the lunar topsoil near the pole.

8. The space research organisation has declared its intention to launch the Aditya-L1 Solar Mission, India's inaugural spaceborne observatory aimed at studying the Sun. This historic launch is scheduled for September 2, 2023 from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

9. ISRO on August 27 (Sunday) reported that the rover Pragyan encountered a crater with a diameter of four meters. The space agency said that the rover received commands to backtrack its route and chart a new path to continue its mission.

10. With all systems performing to expectations, ISRO scientists are hoping that post the completion of the lunar day (14 Earth days), the rover and the lander will spring back to life when the sun appears again. Even if they don’t come back to life, the mission is nevertheless considered a success.

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