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Current surface temperature on the lunar south pole is 50°C: ISRO releases first set of data sent by Chandrayaan-3 mission

The current set of data has been obtained from the ChaSTE (Chandra's Surface Thermophysical Experiment) payload which is onboard the Vikram lander

On Sunday noon (27 August), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) released the first set of data regarding the Moon’s thermophysical properties. The current set of data has been obtained from the ChaSTE (Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment) payload which is onboard the Vikram lander. 

As per the official information shared by ISRO, the ChaSTE payload is being used to understand the thermal behaviour of the lunar surface. Evidently, ChaSTE measures the temperature profile of the lunar topsoil around the pole. For this purpose, it has 10 individual temperature sensors mounted on it.  

Notably, the ChaSTE payload is developed by a team led by the Space Physics Laboratory (SPL), VSSC in collaboration with Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad.

Taking to X, ISRO shared the information along with a graph. The post states, “ChaSTE (Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment) measures the temperature profile of the lunar topsoil around the pole, to understand the thermal behaviour of the moon’s surface. It has a temperature probe equipped with a controlled penetration mechanism capable of reaching a depth of 10 cm beneath the surface. The probe is fitted with 10 individual temperature sensors.”

The graph attached in the post displays the temperature variations of the lunar surface or near-surface at various depths with temperature extremes ranging from -10°C at a depth of 8 cm (-80 mm) below the surface to 60°C above the surface. 

As per the measurement taken by ChaSTE, the temperature on the surface is 50°C, and it goes up sharply with the increase in altitude, which is 60°C just 2 cm above the surface. It is notable that the south pole on the moon is having a lunar day now, which is equivalent to 14 Earth days. As the region is getting sunlight at present, its temperature is high.

As per ISRO, this is the first temperature profile for the lunar south pole. The space agency added that further detailed observations are underway. 

Following the successful soft landing at the designated landing site later named ShivShakti Point, all five ISRO payloads on the lander and rover have begun in-situ experiments. ISRO has stated that their performance so far has been normal.

Earlier in the day, the chairman of ISRO, S Somanath confirmed that the lander and rover of Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft are very healthy and all five instruments of the spacecraft have been switched on. 

He conveyed that all the desired experiments will be completed before the 3rd of September. He added that the spacecraft has to be tested for different modes in order to have the “best picture ever of the Moon”.

As per reports, data from the payload on the propulsion module has started to arrive at the ground stations. It is expected that ISRO will constantly make announcements regarding its lunar explorations once it completes the initial analysis of the data. 

Meanwhile, commenting on the new names of the landing site, the ISRO chief said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi explained the meaning of ‘Shiv Shakti’ in a manner that suits everybody. He added that the Prime Minister also named the Chandrayaan-2 touchdown point as ‘Tiranga’ and that both ‘Tiranga’ and ‘Shiv Shakti’ are Indian-sounding names. 

He added that PM Modi has a prerogative of naming these points given the office he holds.

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