Chandrayaan-3 lander snaps far side of the Moon as it readies for touchdown

With the touchdown looming, ISRO has now shared new images of the far side of the Moon captured by the camera aboard the Chandrayaan-3 lander.

| Updated on: Aug 21 2023, 10:55 IST
Moon mission: Chandrayaan-3 completes final manoeuvre; here's what comes next
1/7 Chandrayaan-3's Final Lunar-bound Manoeuvre: India's Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft successfully completes its fifth and final lunar-bound orbit manoeuvre, bringing it closer to the Moon's surface. (ISRO)
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2/7 Completion of Moon-bound Manoeuvres: Chandrayaan-3 concludes all its Moon-bound manoeuvres, entering an orbit of 153 km x 163 km. The next step is to prepare for the separation of the lander module from the propulsion module. (ISRO)
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3/7 Lander Module Separation: Preparations underway for the separation of the lander module, consisting of the lander and rover, from the propulsion module. The separation is scheduled for August 17. (ISRO)
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4/7 Progression of the Mission: Launched on July 14, Chandrayaan-3 entered lunar orbit on August 5. Orbit reduction manoeuvres were conducted on August 6, 9, and 14, positioning the spacecraft over the lunar poles. (PTI)
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5/7 Soft Landing Plans: Post-separation, the lander will undergo a "deboost" process to place it in an orbit with Perilune at 30 km and Apolune at 100 km. A soft landing attempt on the Moon's south polar region is planned for August 23. (ISRO)
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6/7 Challenges and Simulations: The landing's critical phase involves transitioning the lander's velocity from horizontal to vertical. Extensive simulations and adjustments in guidance design and algorithms have been made to ensure a successful landing. (ISRO)
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7/7 Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-2 (2019) aiming to demonstrate safe landing and roving on the Moon. It comprises a propulsion module, lander module, and rover with objectives including safe landing demonstration, rover mobility, and in-situ experiments on the lunar surface. (ISRO)
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Chandrayaan-3’s LHDAC instrument captured breathtaking snapshots of the far side of the Moon. (ISRO)

The countdown to the touchdown of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)'s Chandryaan-3 spacecraft has now begun. With just 3 days to go, the anticipation is building up. The last-minute failure of Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft, which was also on a similar mission, means that all eyes are on the Indian spacecraft. With the touchdown looming, ISRO has now shared new images of the far side of the Moon captured by the camera aboard the Chandrayaan-3.

Chandrayaan-3 snaps lunar far side

The images were captured by Lander Hazard Detection and Avoidance Camera (LHDAC) aboard the spacecraft, which aids in locating a safe landing area, avoiding any deep trenches or huge rocks that could hamper the landing. The LHDAC camera was developed by ISRO at the Space Applications Center, a space for designing space-borne instruments for ISRO missions.

Of the four images shared by ISRO's official account on X, the first image features the Hayn impact crater on the northeast area of the Moon, which is nearly 87 kilometers wide. The second image snapped the Boss crater which is also located nearby. It is named after the American astronomer Lewis Boss. The third image is not of a crater, but of Mare Humboldtianum, a basaltic plain on the lunar surface formed as a result of an ancient asteroid impact. The fourth snapshot features the massive Belʹkovich impact crater which is almost 214 kilometers wide. Since all of these formations are located on the far side of the Moon, they are not easily visible from Earth due to the libration effect.

Chandrayaan-3: Touchdown soon

India's Chandrayaan-3 mission is reaching a critical point as the spacecraft prepares for its historic touchdown, which is anticipated to occur on August 23 at 6:04 PM IST. The Chandrayaan-3 comprises of 3 components - a lunar lander named Vikram, a rover named Pragyan, and the propulsion module. While the propulsion module will continue to orbit in space, conducting a series of experiments for months or even years, the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover will touchdown on the far side of the Moon.

If the soft landing is successful, it would cement India's position as the fourth nation to successfully achieve a soft lunar landing, following in the footsteps of the United States, Russia, and China.

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First Published Date: 21 Aug, 10:52 IST