June 18, 2024

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Chandrayaan-3: Indian space agency Isro says there is no signal yet from the lunar lander

Chandrayaan-3: Indian space agency Isro says there is no signal yet from the lunar lander

  • Written by Geeta Pandey
  • BBC News, Delhi

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Image of the Vikram lander taken by the Pragyan rover

Indian space agency ISRO says it is trying to contact the lander and rover with the start of a new lunar day, but has not received any signals yet.

The lander, carrying the rover in its belly, touched down near the moon’s little-explored south pole in August.

They spent two weeks collecting data and images, and were then put into “sleep mode” at lunar darkness.

Isro hoped that the batteries would be recharged and the units would wake up again when the sun rose around September 22.

But it is possible that the extreme cold that prevailed on the lunar night damaged the batteries.

On Friday, Isro posted on X (formerly Twitter) that “efforts to establish contact with the Vikram lander and the Pragyaan rover will continue.”

India made history with its Chandrayaan-3 mission when it became the first country to successfully land a spacecraft near the south pole of the moon.

It also joined the elite club of countries that have achieved a soft landing on the moon, after the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China.

The landing was carefully planned to coincide with the beginning of the lunar day, so that Vikram and Pragyan would have two weeks of sunlight to work. One day on the Moon is equivalent to just over four weeks on Earth, where day and night each last about 14 days.

While they slept, Isro said that they had both completed all their tasks, but she hoped that they would wake up again at the beginning of the next lunar day.

Experts cited the example of the Chinese Chang’e4 lander and the Yutu2 rover, which woke up several times with sunrise.

But former ISRO head Kiran Kumar told the BBC that was not a given, because nighttime temperatures near the moon’s south pole routinely drop to -200°C to -250°C (-328°F to -418°C). Fahrenheit) and batteries are not designed to operate or be used. Store them at such extreme temperatures.

Isru tried to mitigate expectations, saying that if Vikram and Pragyan did not wake up, they would remain on the moon as “India’s ambassadors to the moon.”

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