After the successful landing of the Vikram lander during India’s third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, everyone is buzzing with excitement. This soft landing, achieved by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has cemented the country’s position in the space exploration race at the very top. Another one of the biggest feats of this successful landing was that the highly advanced rover, which has been named the Pragyaan Rover, has now also exited the belly of the Vikram Lander. This rover, with six wheels, will be performing different in-situ experiments. These experiments will then help Indian scientists understand the lunar surface and lunar atmosphere. The Pragyaan Rover is one of the greatest engineering marvels from ISRO, and there is a lot to know about it. So if you are interested in this rover, then read on.
The meaning behind the name “Pragyaan”
Before going deep into the scientific and engineering side of the rover, it has to be stated how this rover has been named. The advanced lunar rover, as mentioned, has been named “Pragyaan.” This word in Sanskrit means wisdom. This rover has been designed to maneuver on the moon’s uneven surface and gather as much information about its surface and atmosphere as possible.
Pragyaan rover design and mechanics
The Pragyaan Rover has been designed by ISRO to be compact yet sophisticated in technology. This rover weighs around 26 kg and has been equipped with six wheels. These special wheels will help the rover move around the diverse terrains of the lunar surface at a speed of around 1 cm per second.
The other important thing about the rover is that it has been equipped with a solar panel that will help it generate power. The rover will only be alive for 14 days, which equals one lunar day. The rover, as mentioned, has been equipped with six wheels and also a rocker bogie suspension system. Each of these wheels will be driven by independent brushless DC electric motors. While its steering will be accomplished by the differential speed of wheels or the method of skid steering.
Scientific instruments on Pragyaan
This rover has also been equipped with a suite of scientific instruments that will help Indian scientists understand and unravel important information about the moon and its surface. The Pragyaan rover has been equipped with two standout tools: the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and the Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS).
The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer is an instrument that will help the rover and scientists conduct a chemical analysis of the lunar surface. This instrument will bombard the surface with alpha particles so that it can determine the composition of elements present on the lunar surface. Next up, the Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscope is another cutting-edge tool that will utilize a laser beam to generate plasma from the lunar surface and analyze it to further identify the elements present in it.
Decoding the Lunar Atmosphere
Contrary to popular belief, the Moon also has a thin atmosphere, and Pragyaan’s mission revolves around understanding this delicate balance. By observing the Moon’s day-night cycle, the rover aims to study atomic interactions and charged particles near the surface. The study of the lunar atmosphere will provide insights into the ever-changing nature of the Moon’s atmosphere.
Pragyaan will imprint India on the moon
The last and one of the most important information about the Pragyaan will be that this rover will be imprinting the Indian flag on the moon. The wheels of Pragyan have been imprinted with the ISRO logo as well as the national emblem depicting the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath. With these prints on the wheels, the Pragyan rover as it moves on the lunar surface will thus leave India’s imprint on the Moon.