ISRO’s Vikram Lander discovers movement on the Moon! Know what this ISRO success is about

The Vikram Lander ILSA instrument played a pivotal role in uncovering movement on the Moon's surface.

| Updated on: Sep 11 2023, 11:19 IST
Chandrayaan-3 Moon mission: 5 facts to know
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1/7 The Chandrayaan-3 mission was launched on July 14 from Sri Harikota, India's main spaceport in  Andhra Pradesh. From the day of its launch, Chandrayaan-3  has looped through progressively wider-ranging orbits of Earth. It then transferred to a lunar orbit and emerged as a focus of national pride. Our Moon mission become a global interest after Russia's Moon mission Luna-25  failed to land on the moon. (PTI)
2/7 The landing of  Chandrayaan-3 is aimed at the lunar south pole. Lunar south pole is a region that may have water ice or frozen water. It can be an abundant source of oxygen, fuel, and water that can be extremely important for future moon missions. (AFP)
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3/7 Chandrayaan-3 will be functional for two weeks if it lands successfully on the lunar surface. It will run various experiments which will include a spectrometer analysis of the mineral composition of the surface of the moon. (via REUTERS)
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4/7 The lander of the Chandrayaan-3 mission is about 2m tall. Its mass is said to be about  1,700 kg (3,747.86 lb) which can deploy a small 26 Kg lunar rover. (HT_PRINT)
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5/7 For the smooth landing of the  Chandrayaan-3 on the south pole of the Moon, rough terrain can be a great hurdle. However, adjustments have been made by ISRO scientists that will help Chandrayaan-3 to stick its landing. (ISRO)
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6/7 The adjustments include a system to broaden the potential landing zone and the lander has been equipped with more fuel and sturdier legs to be more effective. (REUTERS)
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7/7 If this mission becomes successful, it would make India the fourth country to successfully land on the moon, after the former USSR, the United States, and China, and India will be able to mark its emergence as a strong space power. ISRO will telecast the planned Chandrayaan-3  landing starting from 1720 IST (1150 GMT) on August 23, 2023. (ISRO twitter)
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ILSA instrument on Vikram Lander has the primary objective to measure ground vibrations generated by natural quakes, impacts, and artificial events. (ANI)

In a historic milestone for space exploration, India's Chandrayaan-3 mission achieved an unprecedented feat by successfully landing the uncrewed Vikram Lunar lander near the Moon's enigmatic South Pole. This groundbreaking achievement, executed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), marked India as the first nation to touch down in this relatively unexplored lunar region. It also made it the fourth country globally to achieve a soft landing on the Moon.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission touched down approximately 373 miles from the lunar South Pole, unlocking the potential for groundbreaking discoveries. Equipped with cutting-edge scientific instruments, including the Pragyan rover, this lunar exploration has revealed crucial insights into the Moon's composition and geological history.

Vikram Lander discovers movement on the Moon

One of the most shocking and astounding revelations emerged from the Vikram Lander, which houses the Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA). This instrument is the first Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology on the Moon. It played a pivotal role in uncovering seismic activity on the Moon's surface on August 26, 2023. In effect, it recorded a Moonquake, similar to earthquakes on Earth. It has detected the first seismic activity in decades on the Moon.

Seismic activity is the frequency and severity of quakes in a given region. On the Moon, however, seismic activity arises from distinct sources, such as thermal fluctuations triggered by solar activity or impacts from celestial objects. "ILSA's primary objective is to measure ground vibrations generated by natural quakes, impacts, and artificial events'', as shared by ISRO on its official website.

The Vikram Lander's mobility on the Moon's surface allowed ILSA to record these seismic rumbles, providing scientists with invaluable data to analyze. Furthermore, these seismic readings might also serve as indicators of other lunar occurrences. 

With the advancements in technology, scientists are able to revisit the data collected from previous missions and are able to get the details about the Moon's enigmatic interior. According to a 2011 NASA study, the Moon likely has a core consisting of fluid iron surrounding a dense, solid iron ball. Researchers in May 2023 suggested that molten mantle blobs might separate from the core, rising to the surface as iron clumps, triggering movements on the moon.

With the Chandrayaan-3 mission at the forefront of lunar exploration, the scientific community eagerly anticipates further discoveries that could deepen our understanding of the Moon's past and present, and perhaps even shed light on the broader dynamics of celestial bodies in our solar system.


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First Published Date: 11 Sep, 11:19 IST