Isro puts the Indian lander and rover into “sleep mode”

The Indian Space Research Agency, ISRO, said that the Indian lander and rover entered service as the sun began to set on the moon.

She added that they were put into “sleep mode” and “will sleep next to each other as soon as the solar energy runs out and the battery runs out.”

Isru added that she hopes they will wake up again “around September 22nd,” when the next lunar day begins.

The lander and rover need sunlight to charge their batteries and function.

The Vikram lander — carrying a rover called Pragyan in its belly — touched down on the moon’s little-explored south pole on August 23.

Thus, India became the first country to land 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 Indian Space Agency provides regular updates on the movements and results of the lander and rover and shares photos it has taken.

In her latest update on Monday morning, Isro said Vikram has “softly landed on the moon again!”

After the Chandrayaan-3 lander “received a command to start its engines, it rose about 40 cm (16 inches) and descended 30 to 40 cm,” Isro said.

She added that the “successful hop test” means the spacecraft could be used in the future to bring samples back to Earth or to carry out human missions.

Chandrayaan-3’s landing was carefully planned to coincide with the start of a lunar day, which equates to just over four Earth weeks. This will allow the lander and rover 14 days of sunlight to charge their batteries and operate, Isro said. It has now been said that both of them have completed all their tasks.

At first, ISRO said that once night fell — which is also the equivalent of two weeks on Earth — the lander and rover would shut down. But scientists say it is possible for them to come back to life when the next lunar day begins. For example, China’s Chang’e4 lander and Yutu2 rover woke up several times at sunrise.

So, hoping that Vikram and Pragyan will also wake up when a new day comes, the ISRO officials prepare them for the night – their batteries are fully charged, all their science instruments are turned off and they are now “safely parked in their sleep”. situation”.

Kiran Kumar, the former head of Isro, told the BBC that nightfall might still be two days away, but the lander, especially the rover, should now be ready.

“Depending on its location, sunlight falls on a certain point on the surface, and the sun sets closer to the pole sooner, which means the lander and rover won’t get sunlight for as long.”

On Monday, Isro released before-and-after-jump photos of the Vikram lander

He explained that the craft may be at a particular disadvantage because it is small and can remain stuck in the shadows in the Antarctic region, which contains a lot of craters with raised edges that can block sunlight. And the setting sun in the evening can lengthen these shadows even further, which could put the rover in the dark zone.

“The lander and rover are set up when day comes again. So they’re parked in the right spot with the correct solar orientation. When the sun comes up after that, the solar panels will face towards it so they can absorb it.” Radiation, generating energy and feeding the system to bring it back to life.”

Kumar says a successful awakening is not to be taken for granted.

“We’re optimistic, but we can’t say for sure. Their batteries are not designed to operate or be stored at temperatures that can drop as low as -200°C to -250°C.”

Isro has also tried to moderate expectations.

“Battery fully charged. Solar panel is oriented to receive light at next sunrise. Receiver is kept on. Hopefully a successful wake up for another set of tasks!” Posted on X, formerly called Twitter.

“Otherwise, she will remain there forever as India’s ambassador to the moon.”

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