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Pragyan

A computer-generated image showing the Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover on the moon.
A computer-generated image showing the Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover on the moon. Image: ISRO

Pragyan is a lunar rover developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Part of the Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission, it successfully landed near the lunar south pole on 23 August 2023. It explored the moon using cameras and scientific instruments for nearly two weeks.

Creator

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

Year
2019
Country
India 🇮🇳
Categories
Features
The rover's first steps. Video: NBC News

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Did you know?

Pragyan is expected to survive only for one lunar day (or around 14 Earth days), because its electronics were not designed to endure the frigid lunar night.

Two side by side images, the left showing the rover on the moon, the right one its tracks on the lunar surface.
The Pragyan rover leaves the lander and goes down a ramp [left] to drive on the moon, leaving tracks on the surface [right]. Photos: ISRO

History

The Pragyan rover traveled to the moon inside the Vikram lander as part of India's Chandrayaan-3 mission. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched Chandrayaan-3 from Satish Dhawan Space Center on 14 July 2023. The spacecraft entered lunar orbit on 5 August, and the Vikram lander touched down in the lunar south polar region on 23 August. One day later, Vikram lowered a ramp that allowed Pragyan to descend to the lunar surface, and both spacecraft began their scientific explorations.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission makes India the fourth country to successfully land on the moon, after the Soviet Union, the United States, and China. India also becomes the first nation to land near the lunar south pole, where there are likely deposits of water ice.

A safe landing was the mission's primary objective, especially after the 2019 crash of the Vikram lander part of Chandrayaan-2. ISRO reportedly spent 6.15 billion rupees (about US $75 million) on the mission.

In early September 2023, after nearly two weeks exploring the lunar surface, ISRO was unable to wake up the rover for normal operation. The agency announced that Pragyan had completed its mission and put it into sleep mode indefinitely.

A large space lander sits atop other parts of a craft, with gold foil and solar panels, in a white lab environment.
Chandrayaan-3 includes the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover. Photo: ISRO
Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft launches, with a glowing yellow blast propelling it into a partly cloudy sky, surrounded by metal antenna towers.
Chandrayaan-3 launched from Satish Dhawan Space Center on 14 July 2023. Photo: ISRO

Specs

Overview

Maximum range expected of 500 meters from the Vikram lander.

Status

Ongoing

Year

2019

Website
Width
75 cm
Height
85 cm
Length
90 cm
Weight
27 kg
Speed
1 cm/s (0.036 km/h)
Sensors

Navigation: Stereoscopic 3D vision using 2 cameras. Science instruments: Alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) to derive chemical composition and infer the mineralogical composition of the lunar surface; Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to determine elemental composition of lunar soil and rocks.

Actuators

Rocker-bogie suspension system and six wheels, each driven by independent brushless DC motors.

Compute

Computer and communications module with receiver/transmitter antenna.

Power

Solar panel, power output of 50 watts

Cost
6.15 billion rupees, or about US $75 million (full Chandrayaan-3 mission)