Chandrayaan-3: NASA lunar orbiter hits India’s lunar lander Vikram 

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Chandrayaan-3 : The American space agency NASA has released a photo of India’s lunar lander on the surface of the moon. 

In it, Vikram’s lander is seen as a small dot in the centre of the image and “its dark shadow can be seen against the bright halo surrounding the vehicle”. 

The Chandrayaan-3 landed on the  little-explored south pole of the moon on August 23. 

NASA said  its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter camera captured the image four days later.  

Last month, India became the first country to reach the  south pole of the moon when the Vikram lander, carrying a rover named Pragyan in its belly, touched down  about 600 kilometres from the pole.  It also joined an elite club of countries to achieve a soft landing on the moon after the United States, the former Soviet Union and China. 

The lander and  rover spent about 10 days on the lunar surface collecting data and images and “exceeded their mission objectives,” according to the country’s space research agency Isro. 

Isro said over the weekend that the lander and  rover were put to sleep as the sun began to set on the moon. They are set to “sleep mode” and “fall asleep side by side when the solar power runs out and the battery dies,” it says. 

Isro added that it expects them to wake up again “around September 22” when the next date begins. The Lander and Rover need sunlight to charge their batteries and operate. 

 • India makes a historic landing near the South Pole of the Moon. 

 •What did the Indian rover do on the moon? 

 • India’s moon lander and rover have been rested . 

The Indian space agency has been giving regular updates on the  movements and findings of the lander and rover and sharing images taken by them.  Earlier this week, Isro said Vikram had conducted a “successful hangover test” on the lunar surface.  After the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s lander “was told to fire its engines, it rose  about 40 cm and landed 30-40 cm away,” Isro said. 

This means  the spacecraft could be used  to bring samples back to  Earth or for human missions in the future, he added.

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