India's Chandrayaan-3 mission has made a world (or moon) first: measuring the temperature of the soil at the lunar south pole.
Last week, the Chandrayaan-3 lander and rover successfully touched down on the lunar surface, making India the fourth nation on Earth to land successfully on the Moon, and the first to land near the south pole. The Pragyan rover and Vikram lander immediately set about conducting experiments, with an initial goal of working and remaining operational for 14 Earth days.
On board are instruments for examining the lunar soil's composition, including a thermometer for assessing the temperature of the soil at various depths up to 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) below the soil surface. The first measurements have been taken by the Vikram lander.
"The presented graph illustrates the temperature variations of the lunar surface/near-surface at various depths, as recorded during the probe's penetration," Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter). "This is the first such profile for the lunar south pole. Detailed observations are underway."
The rover, meanwhile, has been off exploring – though it had to make a course change in order to avoid a crater 4 meters (13 feet) in diameter.