Saturday, September 23, 2023
As a new lunar day begins, India's space agency ISRO says it is attempting to communicate with its moon lander and rover but has not yet received any signals, according to the BBC.
In August, the Vikram lander carrying a Pragyan rover reached the moon's south pole, gathering data and images for two weeks before being put into 'sleep mode' at lunar nightfall.
The ISRO hoped the batteries would recharge and reawaken modules when the sun rose, but the extreme cold of the lunar night may have damaged them.
On Friday, ISRO posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that efforts to establish communication with the Vikram lander and Pragyaan rover will continue.
India recently made history with its Chandrayaan-3 mission, becoming the first country to successfully land a spacecraft near the lunar south pole and joining an elite club of countries that achieved a soft landing on the moon including the US and China,
The landing was planned to coincide with the start of a lunar day, allowing Vikram and Pragyaan two weeks of sunlight to work with.
One day on the moon is equivalent to over four weeks on Earth, with the day and night each lasting 14 days.
The ISRO reported that both landers had completed their assignments and expressed hope for reawakening at the start of the next lunar day, citing China's Chang'e4 lander and Yutu2 rover as examples of successful sunrise awakenings.
However, former ISRO chief AS Kiran Kumar stated that the moon's temperature near the lunar south pole is not guaranteed due to the extreme night temperatures (-200C to -250C) and batteries not designed for such conditions.
Furthermore, ISRO has tempered expectations, stating that if Vikram and Pragyaan don't wake up, they will remain on the moon as "India's lunar ambassador."