Last month, India became the fourth country in the world to make a soft landing on the Moon’s surface as part of the Chandrayaan-3 mission. After a soft descent, the Vikram lander flexed its muscles by releasing the Pragyan lunar rover. Before “going to sleep”, the lander even managed to restart the engines to rise 6 meters above the surface of the Moon before landing gently again.
A few days later, the team of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) put Vikram and its accompanying rover Pragyan into sleep mode to wait out the cold lunar night and wait for the next sunrise on September 22.
Unfortunately, the pair still haven’t woken up from a long night’s sleep. Scientists have been trying to contact the vehicles for 5 days, but in vain. According to The Guardian, the hope that Vikram and Pragyan will ever wake up is fading.
The unfortunate development of events only highlights the extreme conditions of the lunar surface, especially in the prolonged absence of sunlight, which powers the solar panels of spacecraft.
But scientists remain optimistic.
“Efforts to establish communication with the Vikram lander and Pragyaan rover will continue,” ISRO said on Twitter. According to the team, mission control will try to restore communication until the next sunset on September 30.
The vehicles are unlikely to be able to survive the next February cold. But recently, there have been cases when rovers have experienced harsh nights. For example, the Chinese lunar rovers Chang’e-4 and Yutu-2 have repeatedly successfully woken up from sleep.
However, even if Vikram never wakes up again, India will still be able to consider its Chandrayaan-3 mission an innovative success, since, according to ISRO, the lander serves as India’s “lunar ambassador” to the Moon.
Earlier we reported on how the Chandrayaan-3 lunar rover encountered danger on the Moon.
Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time