Chandrayaan-3: Vikram lander seismic probe detects Moonquakes
In recent updates of Chandrayaan-3, ISRO reports “natural” seismic activity on the lunar surface that was detected by Vikram lander.
Chandrayaan-3 lander made a successful landing on the lunar surface on August 23, 2023, and ever since the Pragyan rover rolled out of it, it has been exploring and studying the moon. Earlier the rover found the presence of sulphur, oxygen and other elements on the south pole of the moon which is a huge discovery and it can unveil so many facts about the Moon. Recently, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) shared an update on the study which said Vikram Lander has recorded “natural” seismic activity. Learn more about the recent findings here.
Seismic activity on the Moon
ISRO on Thursday shared a post on X (Formerly Twitter) which said the Vikram lander has recorded a natural seismic event with the help of Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology-based instrument. The post said, "Instrument for the Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) payload on Chandrayaan 3 Lander -- the first Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology-based instrument on the moon -- has recorded the movements of Rover and other payloads.”
ISRO reports that the seismic event captured was considered natural on August 26, 2023. However, the space agency is still investigating the source of the event. It further added that the ILSA payload was developed and designed at LEOS, Bangalore, in partnership with private industries. Meanwhile, URSC, Bengaluru, undertook the development of the deployment mechanism.
In the course of about a week, the Pragyan rover has successfully been conducting the necessary functionalities for further research. However, the rover and lander may stop functioning when the sun sets the for next 14 days. During lunar night, the temperature on the moon is expected to go below -200 degrees Celsius which makes it uncertain if the rover and lander will still be able to work again.
What instrument is being used to record Lunar Seismic Activity?
According to a report byISRO, the Instrument for the Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) within the Vikram Lander incorporates a cluster of six accelerometers which are known for their sensitivity, all manufactured using the Silicon Micromachining process. The sensing element comprised a spring-mass system with comb-structured electrodes. In response to vibrations from the outside, the spring bends.