India walks on the moon as Pragyan rover rolls into the lunar surface

A view of the moon as viewed by the Chandrayaan-3 lander during Lunar Orbit Insertion on August 5, 2023 in this screengrab from a video released August 6, 2023. ISRO/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Bengaluru: Chandrayaan-3 mission's Lander Module which touched down on the lunar surface, has rolled out the rover, Pragyan, with ISRO saying "India took a walk on the moon".

On its official X handle, ISRO said the "rover ramped down."

"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!," it said. Official sources had earlier confirmed the development.

President Droupadi Murmu congratulated the ISRO team for the successful deployment of Pragyan.

"Its rolling out a few hours after the landing of Vikram marked the success of yet another stage of Chandrayaan 3. I look forward with excitement, alongside my fellow citizens and scientists, to the information and analyses that Pragyan will acquire and enrich our understanding of the moon", she said.

In precision landing, Chandrayaan 3's LM Vikram touched down the lunar surface at 6.04 pm on Wednesday, sending the nation into wild celebrations.

The ISRO had earlier said the 26 kg six-wheeled rover was scheduled to descend from the lander's belly, onto the Moon's surface, using one of its side panels as a ramp.

The lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan) -- with a total mass of 1,752 kg -- are designed to operate for one lunar daylight period (about 14 Earth days) to study the surroundings there.

However, ISRO officials do not rule out the possibility of them coming to life for another lunar day.

The rover will carry out in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface during the course of its mobility.

Both the lander and the rover have scientific payloads to carry out experiments on the lunar surface.

The rover would study the surface of the moon through its payloads APXS - Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer - to derive the chemical composition and infer mineralogical composition to further enhance understanding of the lunar surface.

Pragyan also has another payload--Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) to determine the elemental composition of lunar soil and rocks around the lunar landing site.

ISRO Chairman S Somnath had earlier said, "After powered descent (of lander) on to the landing site, there will be deployment of ramp and rover coming out. After this all the experiments will take place one after the other -- all of which have to be completed in just one day on the moon, which is 14 days."

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