LM establishes communication with the orbiter of mission's predecessor. (PTI Photo)
TIRUPATI: With the clock ticking down to an eagerly anticipated lunar touchdown, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) announced on Monday that the Chandrayaan-3 lander module has successfully established two-way communication with the orbiter of its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2.
This significant achievement comes just two days before the Chandrayaan-3 mission attempts a historic soft landing at the moon's enigmatic south pole.
Despite the Chandrayaan-2 mission encountering an unfortunate loss of its lander during its previous attempt, its orbiter, PRADAN, remains operational and is continuing its journey. Currently, PRADAN orbits the moon at an altitude of 100 km of 100 km, maintaining a circular trajectory.
The ISRO released a statement on the X platform, revealing that the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter extended a warm welcome message to the Chandrayaan-3 lander module, consisting of the lander Vikram and the rover Pragyan.
The Isro post read, "Welcome, buddy! Chandrayaan-2 orbiter formally welcomed Chandrayaan-3 LM. Two-way communication between the two is established."
With preparations for the soft landing now in full swing, Isro is currently conducting internal assessments on the landing module. The highly anticipated powered descent is scheduled to be initiated on August 23 at approximately 5:45 pm, with Vikram's landing on the lunar surface expected around 6:04 pm.
Earlier on the same day, the Isro released a series of images captured from the far side of the moon, which perpetually faces away from earth. These images were captured by the Lander Hazard Detection and Avoidance Camera, developed by the Satellite Application Centre. This camera plays a crucial role in identifying safe landing areas free of obstacles like boulders or deep trenches during the descent phase.
The lunar far side, often referred to as "the dark side of the moon," remains largely unexplored, making a landing there a formidable challenge for scientists. All four images, shared by ISRO, were taken on August 19, a day prior to Vikram's entry into the pre-landing orbit.
These newly obtained lunar images depict some of the prominent craters on the moon's far side, aiding the Vikram lander in its quest to find a suitable landing spot in the uncharted lunar south polar region.
The craters identified in the images include Hayn, Boss L, Mare Humboldtianum, and Bel'kovich.