The Indian space agency on Thursday said ChaSTE, ILSA and RAMBHA — the payloads of the moon lander — have been turned on.
In a tweet, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said: “Lander Module payloads ILSA, RAMBHA and ChaSTE are turned ON today (Thursday).”
“Rover mobility operations have commenced. All activities are on schedule. All systems are normal,” ISRO said.
According to the space agency, on Sunday the propulsion module payload SHAPE was turned on.
On Wednesday evening, India’s moon lander — part of the Chandrayaan-3 missionn — safely landed on the lunar surface.
The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft comprises a propulsion module (weighing 2,148 kg), a lander (1,723.89 kg) and a rover (26 kg).
With the landing, a major portion of the Rs 600 crore Chandrayaan-3 mission has been realised. The remaining portion is the moon rover rolling down from the lander, moving around and doing the programmed experiments.
According to ISRO, the moon rover has Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) for deriving the elemental composition in the vicinity of the landing site.
On its part, the lander too will carry out the tasks assigned to it with its payloads: Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) to measure the thermal conductivity and temperature; Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) for measuring the seismicity around the landing site; RAMBHA Langmuir Probe (LP) to estimate the plasma density and its variations. A passive Laser Retroreflector Array from NASA is accommodated for lunar laser ranging studies.
The mission life of the lander and the rover is 1 Lunar day or 14 Earth days, ISRO said
Earlier ISRO had said in another a tweet: “Chandrayaan-3 ROVER: Made in India Made for the MOON! The Ch-3 Rover ramped down from the Lander and India took a walk on the moon!”
“The rover rolled down onto the moon surface from the lander sometime around 12.30 a.m. Thursday. It is moving around. It is leaving its imprint on the moon’s surface,” S. Unnikrishnan Nair, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), told IANS.
The logo of ISRO and the national emblem have been engraved on the wheels of the rover to leave the imprint when it moves around.
According to Unnikrishnan, the solar panels of the rover and that of the lander have been deployed.
He said the rover will collect samples of the moon and do the experiments and send the data to the lander.