Chandrayaan-3 lander ejected 2.06 tonnes of lunar epi regolith, generates spectacular ‘Ejecta Halo’: ISRO


New Delhi [India]: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday said that the Vikram lander module of Chandrayaan-3 blew off 2.06 tonnes of lunar epiregolith (Moon Dust) and generated a “spectacular ejecta halo”.

The space agency further added that the lander displaced over an area of 108.4 m2 around the landing site.

ISRO also shared a link to the document with details on X, and noted, “On August 23, 2023, as it descended, the Chandrayaan-3 Lander Module generated a spectacular ‘ejecta halo’ of lunar material. Scientists from NRSC/ISRO estimate that about 2.06 tonnes of lunar epiregolith were ejected and displaced over an area of 108.4 m2 around the landing site.”

The document shared by ISRO on X said, “The Vikram lander of the Chandrayaan-3 mission landed near the south pole of the Moon on August 23, 2023. During the action of descent stage thrusters and the consequent landing, a significant amount of lunar surficial epiregolith material got ejected, resulting in a reflectance anomaly or ejecta halo.”

“We compared the pre- and post-landing high-resolution panchromatic imagery from the Orbiter High-Resolution Camera (OHRC) of the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, acquired hours before and after the landing event and characterised this ‘ejecta halo’, which appears as an irregular bright patch surrounding the lander,” it added.

“From the mapped and classified, uncorrelated ‘ejecta halo’ pixels, an approximate areal extent of 108.4 m2 is estimated to have been covered by lunar epiregolith ejecta displaced due to the landing sequence of the Vikram lander. Further, using empirical relations, we estimate that approximately 2.06 tonnes of lunar epiregolith were ejected due to the landing event,” the document added further.

On August 23, India took a giant leap as the Chandrayaan-3 lander module successfully landed on the moon’s South Pole, making it the first country to have achieved the historic feat and bringing to an end the disappointment over the crash landing of the Chandrayaan-2, four years ago. India became the fourth country – after the US, China, and Russia – to have successfully landed on the moon’s surface.

Soon after the soft landing of Chandrayaan-3, India launched its maiden solar mission Aditya-L1 on September 2. So far in its journey, the spacecraft has undergone four earth-bound manoeuvres and a Trans-Lagrangean Point 1 Insertion (TL1I) manoeuvres, all successfully. In the process, the spacecraft successfully escaped the sphere of Earth’s influence.

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