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Why did Pragyan Rover not leave clear imprints of Indian emblem on Moon?


Chandrayaan 3 has accomplished nearly all of its planned tasks during the 10-day lunar exploration it conducted before entering sleep mode. However, a clear image of the Indian national emblem and the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) logo, which were embossed onto the Pragyan Rover’s rear wheel to imprint on the lunar surface, has yet to be obtained. Explaining this, ISRO’s chief, S Somanath, said that the moon’s surface turned out to be sticky and lumpy, preventing a clear image. Nonetheless, he confirmed that the imprints were made and enhanced pictures would be released soon.

The rear wheel of the rover seen with ISRO logo embossed on it.(ISRO)
The rear wheel of the rover seen with ISRO logo embossed on it.(ISRO)

ISRO is working to reactivate the mission after the harsh lunar night, where temperatures can drop as low as -200 degrees Celsius. So far, the space agency has not received a signal from the Vikram Lander, but it will continue its efforts to wake up the rover and lander while the lunar day lasts.

ALSO READ: ISRO to wait 14 more days for Pragyan, Vikram signals

Moon South Pole terrain was different than our expectation: ISRO Chief Somanath

During an NDTV television show, ISRO Chief Somanath explained that the markings on Pragyan Rover were designed for specific lunar terrain and imprints came while it was tested on Earth. However, he added, when the rover actually reached the lunar site, the terrain appeared significantly different. “During the Vikram Lander landing process, surprisingly little dust was produced, indicating that the lunar surface was not behaving like loose dust but rather like a sticky, lumpy material,” he said.

ALSO READ- After Vikram’s ‘hop’, Isro eyes next lunar leap: Missions to bring back samples from the Moon

This stickiness may have affected the quality of the impressions on the lunar surface, Somanath said. Imprints may form better on flat, straight terrain, while uneven surfaces may not produce well-captured images, he added.

Somanath noted that although the images may not be very sharp, they are still present, and efforts will be made to enhance and share them in the future.


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