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Chandrayaan-3 is the third Moon mission by India’s space agency ISRO. The goal is to place a lander and rover on the lunar surface and operate them for roughly one lunar day, or 14 Earth days.

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The small rover, which weighs just 26 kilograms (57 pounds), flew to the Moon inside the lander. Chandrayaan-3 completed a soft landing in the Moon's south polar region on August 23, 2023.

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The Chandrayaan-3 lander and rover are similar in design to those from the Chandrayaan-2 mission. In September 2019, the Chandrayaan-2 Vikram lander successfully.

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Chandrayaan-2 was targeting the Moon’s south polar region, where ice has been found inside permanently shadowed craters. Unfortunately, a software glitch caused Vikram to veer off course, and ISRO officials lost contact with the spacecraft. 

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Having figured out what doomed the Vikram lander, ISRO says they have upgraded the lander’s software and performed numerous tests to ensure that Chandrayaan-3 goes according to plan.

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The mission began on July 14 with a launch aboard India’s LVM3 rocket, the country’s heavy lift vehicle capable of placing about 8 metric tons into low-Earth orbit.

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Chandrayaan-3 landed near the lunar south pole region on 23 August 2023, making India the first nation to successfully land a spacecraft near the lunar south pole, and the fourth country to land on the Moon.

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Shortly after landing, one side panel of the Chandrayaan-3 lander will unfold, creating a ramp for the rover. The rover will emerge from the lander’s belly, drive down the ramp, and begin exploring the lunar environment.

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The Chandrayaan-3 rover is expected to make a number of important scientific discoveries, including the composition of the lunar surface, the presence of water ice in the lunar soil, the history of lunar impacts, and the evolution of the Moon’s atmosphere.

Credit: Google

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