As a new lunar day dawns, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is making efforts to reestablish contact with its moon lander and rover, but as of now, there have been no signals received, as reported by the BBC.
In August, the Vikram lander, carrying the Pragyan rover, successfully touched down at the moon’s south pole, conducting data gathering and capturing images for a period of two weeks before entering a state of ‘sleep mode’ during the lunar night.
ISRO had high hopes that the lander’s batteries would recharge and revive the modules as the sun reappeared on the lunar horizon. However, the extreme cold experienced during the lunar night may have adversely affected these critical components.
Efforts have been made to establish communication with the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover to ascertain their wake-up condition.
As of now, no signals have been received from them.
Efforts to establish contact will continue.
— ISRO (@isro) September 22, 2023
On Friday, ISRO communicated via its X (formerly known as Twitter) account that they would persist in their efforts to reestablish communication with the Vikram lander and Pragyaan rover.
India achieved a significant milestone with its Chandrayaan-3 mission, becoming the first nation to successfully land a spacecraft near the lunar south pole, joining an exclusive club of countries, including the United States and China, that have achieved soft landings on the moon.
The landing was meticulously timed to coincide with the beginning of a lunar day, affording Vikram and Pragyaan a valuable two-week period of uninterrupted sunlight for their operations.
A single day on the moon is equivalent to more than four weeks on Earth, with each lunar day and night spanning 14 Earth days.
ISRO had previously reported that both lander and rover had accomplished their designated tasks and expressed optimism about their revival at the commencement of the next lunar day, pointing to China’s Chang’e 4 lander and Yutu 2 rover as successful examples of awakening during lunar sunrises.
However, former ISRO chief AS Kiran Kumar cautioned that the moon’s temperatures near the lunar south pole are extremely variable, ranging from -200°C to -250°C, and the batteries were not designed to endure such harsh conditions.
ISRO has moderated expectations by acknowledging that if Vikram and Pragyaan fail to reawaken, they will remain on the moon, serving as “India’s lunar ambassadors.”