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Chandrayaan-3’s Propulsion Module Still Active as Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover Remain Silent

An update on Chandrayaan-3's mission reveals the continued activity of the propulsion module orbiting the Moon.

November 01, 2023: In a significant development regarding the Chandrayaan-3 mission, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) confirmed that the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover, which had been placed in sleep mode after a successful lunar exploration, have yet to respond to communication attempts since September 22. Despite these challenges, a new revelation has emerged concerning the mission.

On July 14, 2023, the Chandrayaan-3 mission took flight, launching from Sriharikota’s Space Center at 2:35 PM. The rocket, propelled by the LVM 3 launch vehicle, touched down on the lunar surface gently on August 23 at 6:04 PM. Following this, the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover descended to the lunar surface and gathered valuable data on lunar conditions, including temperature, climate, seismic activity, oxygen levels, and various minerals. While the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover remain unresponsive, Chandrayaan-3’s propulsion module continues to orbit the Moon.

Understanding the Propulsion Module:

The propulsion module initially was coupled with the lander module, but they separated as part of the mission’s design. While Vikram lander made a successful soft landing on the Moon, the Pragyan rover disembarked from the lander. The propulsion module remained in lunar orbit and is now engaged in studying radiation emanating from Earth.

How Does the Propulsion Module Stay Active?

Ajit Kumar Mohanty, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, disclosed the remarkable resilience of the propulsion module, which remains operational even as the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover remain unresponsive. The propulsion module relies on nuclear technology and features two Radioisotopes Heating Units (RHU). Although it was originally intended to function in lunar orbit for 3 to 6 months, Mohanty has stated that its efficiency suggests it can remain operational for several years. This incredible longevity highlights the sign

ificance of the mission and its potential for future lunar exploration and scientific endeavors.

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