India's Lunar Rover Keeps Doing Its Moon Walk

No glitches so far after historic touch-down earlier this week
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 25, 2023 1:17 PM CDT
India's Lunar Rover Keeps Doing Its Moon Walk
This image from video provided by the Indian Space Research Organisation shows the surface of the moon as the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft prepares for landing on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023.   (ISRO via AP)

India's lunar rover continued its walk on the moon Friday after the historic touch-down of India's spacecraft near the moon's south pole earlier this week, the country's space agency said. The rover's data collection and experiments could help determine if there is oxygen and hydrogen on the moon, per the AP. The Chandrayan-3 Rover is expected to conduct experiments over 14 days, including an analysis of the mineral composition of the lunar surface, the Indian Space Research Organization has said.

"The rover has successfully traversed a distance of about 8 meters (26.2 feet)," ISRO said Friday. "All payloads on the propulsion module, lander module, and rover are performing nominally." The rover will also study the atmosphere of the moon and seismic activities, ISRO Chairman S. Somnath said. "These experiments would pave the way for new scientific research about the availability of oxygen and hydrogen on the surface of the moon and can give us a direct or indirect answer as to whether there was life on the moon," the Press Trust of India news agency cited India's Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh as saying.

Pallava Bagla, a science writer and co-author of books on India's space exploration, said the rover crawls, or moves at low speed, for safety reasons to minimizes shocks and damage to the vehicle on a rough surface and negotiating obstacles. It also has limited battery power. After a failed attempt to land on the moon in 2019, India on Wednesday joined the United States, the Soviet Union, and China as only the fourth country to achieve this milestone. The successful mission showcases India's rising standing as a technology and space powerhouse and dovetails with the image that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to project: an ascendant country asserting its place among the global elite. (Russia's moon mission failed days before India's succeeded.)

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