The Indian space agency has obtained the first ever scientific data from the Moon’s unexplored South Polar region, marking a major success of its Chandrayaan-3 mission.
The thermal probe of the Vikram lander recorded how temperature varies at surface, near surface and deeper on the lunar surface.
ChaSTE (Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment) measures the temperature profile of the lunar topsoil around the pole, to understand the thermal behaviour of the moon’s surface, said the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
“It has a temperature probe equipped with a controlled penetration mechanism capable of reaching a depth of 10 cm beneath the surface. The probe is fitted with 10 individual temperature sensors,” it added.
Here are the first observations from the ChaSTE payload onboard Vikram Lander.
ChaSTE (Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment) measures the temperature profile of the lunar topsoil around the pole, to understand the thermal behaviour of the moon’s… pic.twitter.com/VZ1cjWHTnd
— ISRO (@isro) August 27, 2023
Moon has no atmosphere and the temperature varies drastically on the lunar surface. ISRO presented the variations in the form of a graph.
“The presented graph illustrates the temperature variations of the lunar surface/near-surface at various depths, as recorded during the probe’s penetration. This is the first such profile for the lunar south pole. Detailed observations are underway,” said ISRO.
Vikram lander touched down on August 23, making India the only country to land in the lunar South Polar region. The touchdown spot was later named Shiv Shakti point.
Chandrayaan-3 has accomplished two of its three objectives – soft landing and rover roving on the lunar surface – and the third – in-situ scientific experiments – is underway, ISRO said Saturday.