As the eagerly awaited landing of the Chandrayaan-3 Lander on the Moon’s surface draws closer, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has unveiled images of the lunar far side, an area often referred to as the “dark side” due to its perpetual concealment from Earth. The images were captured on August 19 by the Lander Hazard Detection and Avoidance Camera (LHDAC), a vital component aboard the Lander.
Revealing these captivating images, ISRO took to the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to share its latest achievement. The LHDAC, which facilitates the identification of safe landing areas by detecting obstacles such as boulders and deep trenches, is developed by ISRO’s Space Applications Centre (SAC) in Ahmedabad.
“This camera that assists in locating a safe landing area — without boulders or deep trenches — during the descent is developed by ISRO at SAC,” the agency posted.
The lunar far side, also known as the dark side, has long intrigued scientists and space enthusiasts alike due to its inherent inaccessibility from Earth’s vantage point. Russia’s recent Luna-25 mission, which crashed on the Moon’s surface on August 20, also managed to send back images of this enigmatic region.
Chandrayaan-3, the follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-2, is designed to showcase a comprehensive end-to-end capability for safe lunar landings and surface exploration. The mission objectives encompass a safe and gentle touchdown on the Moon’s surface, showcasing the mobility of the rover, and conducting in-situ scientific experiments.
In the course of Chandrayaan-3’s mission, ISRO has shared several impressive videos and images from its lunar journey. These include videos captured by the Lander Position Detection Camera (LPDC) on August 15, 2023, and the Lander Imager (LI) Camera-1 capturing the Moon just after the separation of the Lander Module from the Propulsion Module on August 17, 2023.
The journey of Chandrayaan-3, which was launched on July 14, took a significant step on August 17 as its lander module successfully separated from the propulsion module after 35 days in space. Following this separation, the lander underwent a series of maneuvers to adjust its orbit for the subsequent descent phase.
The planned landing on August 23 entails meticulous navigation and execution. As the lander approaches the Moon’s surface, it will enter a powered braking phase at around 30 kilometers in altitude, employing its thrusters to gradually descend. At an altitude of approximately 100 meters, the lander will perform a surface scan to detect potential obstacles. Based on this scan, it will then commence its final descent for a soft landing.
ISRO’s progress with Chandrayaan-3 has captivated the world’s attention. The imminent landing of the lander on the lunar surface is anticipated with excitement and a sense of anticipation within the global space community.