India’s moon lander and rover, Vikram and Pragyan respectively, have not responded to attempts to contact them after being put into “sleep mode” to protect their electrical components during the freezing lunar night. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had hoped that the lander and rover would reawaken when the lunar day began and the solar panels could recharge their batteries.
However, as of September 25, 2023, scientists have been unable to make communication with the spacecraft. The ISRO has stated that they will continue their efforts to contact the lander and rover over the next few days.
The Vikram lander was part of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, which was launched on July 14, 2023, by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The primary purpose of the mission was to study various aspects of the lunar environment, including the variations in lunar surface composition, the location and abundance of lunar water, and the possibility of water-based ice in the south polar region of the moon.
The Vikram lander was designed to land on the south pole of the moon and carry the Pragyan rover in its belly. The lander and rover successfully landed on the moon in August 2023 and spent over a week collecting data from the lunar surface. The lander was also planned to perform a propulsive hop on the moon’s surface, which it successfully completed on September 2, 2023.
The Pragyan rover of the Chandrayaan-3 mission was put into sleep mode on September 2, 2023, after successfully completing its initial tasks. The rover had traversed over 100 meters on the lunar surface and confirmed the presence of sulfur, iron, oxygen, and other elements on the moon.
Despite repeated attempts, no signals have been received from the lunar explorers, which touched down on the uncharted lunar southern polar region on August 23 after a 40-day journey through space. The fate of the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover remains uncertain, and the ISRO is continuing its efforts to revive the systems. The development has make the current status of the Vikram lander mission is uncertain, and hopes are fading for the reawakening of the lander and rover.
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