Chandrayaan-3 records temperature changes on lunar surface

The lander payload recorded the first-ever temperature profile of the lunar south pole. 
Mrigakshi Dixit
Screenshot of rover walking down of the lander.
Screenshot of rover walking down the lander.


Soon after its successful landing, the Chandrayaan-3 lander and rover began gathering data from the lunar south pole.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has recently released the first temperature profile of the Moon's surface around the south pole. Notably, it is the first temperature profile ever obtained of the lunar south pole. 

The ISRO posted on X about the first data measurements beamed back from one of the lander’s payloads: ChaSTE (Chandra's Surface Thermophysical Experiment). 

This is the first scientific data that ISRO has released, just days after the historic soft-landing of the lander module, which includes a tiny rover, on the lunar surface. 

According to the data, the temperature of the lunar topsoil is roughly 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius.) As per ISRO’s August 27 post, this latest data would allow scientists to “understand the thermal behavior of the moon's surface.”

The ChaSTE device is equipped with 10 advanced sensors  

The primary purpose of the ChaSTE device is to collect data on the thermal dynamics of the Moon's surface by measuring temperature profiles of lunar topsoil near the pole. The lunar topsoil ranges from 16-66 feet (5-20) meters in depth. 

The instrument was built and designed by a team led by ISRO's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre's Space Physics Laboratory (SPL) in partnership with Ahmedabad's Physical Research Laboratory (PRL).

The ChaSTE instrument works on the basis of a "controlled penetration mechanism" that enables it to penetrate 10 cm below the top surface. Reportedly, the device has ten separate sensors to monitor temperature variations beneath the lunar topsoil. 

The graph shared by ISRO on X depicts the temperature range from 14-140 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 to 60 degrees Celsius), depending on the depth. According to the graph, the temperature above the surface was roughly 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celcius), but it dropped to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celcius) just 3 inches (8 cm) beneath the surface.

The lack of an atmosphere causes significant temperature changes on the lunar surface over its day and night cycle. 

Currently, ISRO has shared brief information on the temperature profile, and it is still thoroughly analyzing the data to reach a definitive conclusion of what the observations signify. 

Chandrayaan-3 has successfully achieved two of its three key goals: a soft landing and the demonstration of the rover to traverse around the lunar surface. The third goal is presently underway, which mainly includes conducting scientific observations.

Vikram Lander and Pragyan rover both consist of their own suit of scientific instruments to carry lunar surface studies. 

They will all transmit back a wealth of data on the Moon's atmosphere, soil makeup, and minerals. This vital information might help to solve a number of puzzles surrounding the unexplored lunar south pole area. 

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