The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is facing diminishing prospects of re-establishing contact with its Chandrayaan-3 mission, which aimed to awaken the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover. The ISRO had anticipated that the lunar sunrise on September 22 would provide the necessary sunlight for the lander and rover to recharge, but no communication has been established.
Chandrayaan-3 had completed its scientific objectives and was placed in a “sleep mode” to extend its mission lifespan. However, the lunar night’s extreme conditions, characterized by absolute darkness and temperatures plummeting below minus 200 degrees, pose significant challenges for the solar-powered mission.
Former ISRO chief AS Kiran Kumar acknowledged that the chances of reawakening are fading with each passing hour, as many mission components may not have survived these harsh lunar conditions.
Despite this setback, the Chandrayaan-3 mission has been a remarkable success, demonstrating India’s ability to soft-land a spacecraft on the Moon. India now joins a select group of nations, including the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China, in achieving this feat. The Pragyan rover’s achievements, such as covering a distance of approximately 100 meters and detecting the presence of sulphur on the Moon, contribute to the mission’s significance.
About the Author
Dr Vinay Karanam, a Fellow of Institute of Engineers (FIE) and a Fellow of Institute of Managers and Leaders (FIML) is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer. Currently, he is the Principal Engineering Scientist at www.iwtctwl.tech and National secretary of Mechanical Engineering Group of Engineering New Zealand and Chair of Waikato MEG chapter.