News Brief

Chandrayaan-3: New Study Reveals Extent Of Lunar Material Ejected, Displaced During Vikram Lander's Touchdown

Karan Kamble

Oct 27, 2023, 03:42 PM | Updated 03:42 PM IST

Chandrayaan-3 lander on the Moon as an anaglyph
Chandrayaan-3 lander on the Moon as an anaglyph

India's Chandrayaan-3 landmark mission's Vikram lander successfully touched down near the Moon's south pole on 23 August 2023.

As it descended and landed, a significant amount of lunar surface material was ejected, creating a bright irregular patch known as an 'ejecta halo'.

By comparing high-resolution images taken by the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter's Orbiter High-Resolution Camera (OHRC) before and after the landing, hours apart, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was able to characterise this halo.

A new study published on 26 October in the Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing, authored by Swati Singh, Prakash Chauhan, Priyom Roy, Tapas R Martha, and Iswar C Das of ISRO's Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Centre, has revealed the details.

ISRO referenced the study in an X post today (27 October).

The Indian space agency determined that approximately 108.4 m2 of lunar surface was covered by the displaced ejecta, and estimated that around 2.06 tonnes of lunar material were ejected during the landing.

The OHRC data used to make the determination was supplied by ISRO's Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre.

"We took a promise on Earth and we have fulfilled it on the Moon," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after the historic 23 August touchdown on the lunar surface.

India, thus, became the fourth country to soft-land on the Moon, after the Soviet Union, United States, and China.

"We can all aspire to the Moon and beyond," he further said.

India has since looked Sunwards.

India's first-ever solar probe, Aditya-L1, is on its way to its eventual destination in space — the Lagrange point L1 — from where it will watch the Sun close and long, and send back data to help us better understand the celestial body powering our solar system.

Karan Kamble writes on science and technology. He occasionally wears the hat of a video anchor for Swarajya's online video programmes.

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