The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) released a graph depicting temperature variations on the surface of the Moon on Sunday, and a senior scientist from the space agency expressed astonishment at the high temperatures recorded on the lunar surface.
The National Space Agency stated that the Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander’s Chandra’s Surface Thermo-physical Experiment (ChaSTE) payload measured the temperature profile of the upper lunar soil around the polar region and the temperature variations in the vicinity of the Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander.
“This is the first glimpse of the ChaSTE payload on the Vikram lander. To understand the thermal behavior of the lunar surface, ChaSTE measures the temperature profile of the upper lunar soil around the polar region, as observed during the descent,” ISRO said in an update on Twitter.
Speaking about the graphical representation, ISRO scientist B.H.C. Varun said to PTI, “We all believed that the temperature on the surface could be around 20 to 30 degrees Celsius, but it is 70 degrees Celsius. It’s more than our expectations.”
The space agency mentioned that the payload includes a temperature probe equipped with a controlled entry mechanism capable of reaching depths up to 10 centimeters beneath the surface.
“The probe has 10 different temperature sensors. The presented graph shows the temperature variation at different depths, as recorded during the descent towards the lunar surface/near-surface. This is the first such profile for the lunar southern pole,” ISRO said in a statement, adding that observations are ongoing.
Scientist Varun explained, “When we go two to three centimeters inside Earth, we see a difficulty of about two to three degrees Celsius difference, while there (on the Moon) it’s around 50 degrees Celsius difference. This is quite interesting.”
The senior scientist said that the temperature below the lunar surface drops to about 10 degrees Celsius below zero, and it ranges from 70 degrees Celsius above zero to 10 degrees Celsius below zero.
ISRO noted that the ChaSTE payload was developed by a team from the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, with the support of ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre’s Space Physics Laboratory.
On August 23, India made history as Chandrayaan-3 successfully landed on the Moon’s surface, marking the country’s fourth successful Moon mission and the first to reach the unknown southern polar region of Earth’s only natural satellite.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday that the site where Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander touched down would now be referred to as “Shiv Shakti Point,” and the spot where the Chandrayaan-2 lander crash-landed on the Moon’s surface in 2019 would be known as “Shiv Shakti Point – Tiranga Point.”
Modi also declared that August 23 would be celebrated as “National Space Day” to commemorate the day when Chandrayaan-3’s lander touched down on the Moon’s surface.