The Chandrayaan 3 Vikram lander and rover Pragyan of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are aiming for a new milestone – revival after a 14 Earth-day operational period. Following a successful ‘soft landing’ on the south pole of the Moon, the lander and rover were put into sleep mode due to the harsh lunar cold conditions. With a new lunar dawn approaching, ISRO is preparing to awaken the duo, testing if they have survived the freezing night, a feat not initially planned for the mission.
The south pole of the Moon, where the lander and rover are situated, experiences extreme cold conditions during lunar nights due to the absence of sunlight. Temperatures can plunge to as low as -200°Celsius, and even further to -250°C near the poles.
Prior to the sleep mode initiated on September 2 for the rover and September 4 for the lander, ISRO ensured the on-board equipment’s batteries were charged and the solar panels were positioned to receive the first light at dawn. The aim now is to revive the equipment and continue the lunar explorations.
The mission was originally designed for a single lunar daylight period, approximately 14 Earth days, during which Vikram and Pragyan were to study their surroundings. However, ISRO harbours hopes the equipment will come back to life with the rising Sun, allowing for extended research and experiments on the lunar surface.
This next phase of the mission marks a significant turning point for ISRO, as it was not initially prepared for revival post the 14-day operational period. The successful wake-up of the lander and rover would set a new record, proving the equipment’s robustness against the Moon’s severe cold conditions.
As the new lunar dawn approaches, the world will be watching with bated breath, ready to celebrate another exceptional achievement of ISRO’s Chandrayaan 3 mission.