The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) unveiled imagery on Wednesday, showcasing Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander as photographed by the Pragyan rover on the lunar surface. This remarkable image was taken using the Navigation Camera embedded within the rover, as confirmed by ISRO.
Early today, the Pragyan Rover successfully snapped a picture of the Vikram Lander, marking a significant achievement for the mission. This invaluable visual data was acquired through the Rover’s sophisticated Navigation Camera, known as NavCam. The technology behind the NavCams for the Chandrayaan-3 Mission has been innovatively crafted by the Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems (LEOS), as announced by ISRO through its official communication channel, X, formerly known as Twitter.
Remarkably, both the Chandrayaan-3 lander and rover have now accomplished around half of their intended operational lifespan on the lunar terrain. Over the past week, they have diligently transmitted valuable scientific information. Although designed for a single lunar day equivalent to 14 Earth days, these resilient entities have been equipped with mechanisms to revive them when the sun emerges after the long lunar night. Their reliance on solar power restricts their operations to sunlit periods, particularly when the polar temperatures soar above 54°C.
On August 27th, a pivotal moment emerged as the Pragyan rover encountered a 4-meter diameter crater positioned merely 3 meters ahead of its trajectory. This unexpected feature triggered a strategic alteration in its intended path. It’s worth noting that the rover’s activities on the Moon possess a level of autonomy, while ground stations are responsible for transmitting mobility commands.
The intricacies of rover navigation entail a thorough process. The rover’s onboard navigation camera data is transferred to the ground, where it contributes to generating a digital elevation model (DEM). Subsequently, joint efforts from ground and engineering teams determine the optimal path to pursue, which is then transmitted as a command to the rover.
The same date, August 27th, witnessed a similar operation aimed at redirecting the rover’s course to avoid the newfound crater, emphasizing the precision and adaptability of this lunar exploration endeavor.