Chandrayaan-3 lander reawakening fails after ISRO call goes unansweredas Indian space scientists acknowledge that the chances of India's Moon lander reactivating after enduring a frigid lunar night are dwindling with each passing hour.
Recently, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced its attempts to re-establish communication with the lander and rover, named Vikram and Pragyaan, as a new lunar day commenced. Unfortunately, no signals have been received so far.
Back in August, Vikram, with the Pragyaan rover on board, successfully touched down near the Moon's relatively unexplored south pole. After two weeks of data collection and image capture, the modules were placed into a "sleep mode" as lunar night fell, with the hope that their batteries would recharge and they would awaken when the lunar Sun rose around September 22nd.
ISRO has maintained its commitment to ongoing communication efforts with Vikram and Pragyaan, as they continue their mission on the lunar surface, but there have been no official updates since their last announcement.
Former ISRO chief AS Kiran Kumar stated on Monday morning that the "chances of reawakening are dimming with each passing hour."
"The lander and rover have so many components which may not have survived the frigid temperatures on the Moon," he said, adding that temperatures near the lunar south pole are known to plunge to negative 200C to negative 250C at night.
Unless the transmitter on the lander comes on, we have no connectivity. It has to tell us that it's alive. Even if all other sub-systems work, we have no way of knowing that. The design life of Vikram lander and Pragyan rover is practically over as they have completed all their mission tasks during the 14 Earth days. However, ISRO is trying to establish contact with the lander and rover after the Sun rises there on the Moon. They (scientists) will keep trying it.- AS Kiran Kumar
Chandrayaan-3 Lander rover on the moon with the sun rising in the horizon
A spokesperson from ISRO also emphasized that ongoing efforts to establish contact with the lander and rover were underway.
India achieved a historic milestone with its Chandrayaan-3 mission by becoming the first nation to accomplish a successful spacecraft landing near the lunar south pole. This achievement also propelled India into the exclusive group of countries that have achieved a gentle lunar landing, alongside the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China.
The landing was meticulously scheduled to align with the commencement of a lunar day, providing Vikram and Pragyaan with two weeks of vital sunlight to carry out their tasks. Throughout their mission, the space agency consistently provided updates on their activities, shared the images they captured, and documented their findings.
Before placing them into hibernation, ISRO announced that both Vikram and Pragyaan had successfully completed all assigned tasks, expressing optimism that they would reawaken with the arrival of the next lunar day. Experts pointed to the precedent of China's Chang'e4 lander and Yutu2 rover, which had revived multiple times with the arrival of the lunar sunrise.
Nonetheless, ISRO also cautioned against overly optimistic expectations, stating that "if Vikram and Pragyaan do not wake up they will stay on the Moon as India's lunar ambassador."