BENGALURU: Attempts to reactivate D-3’s lander Vikram and rover Pragyaan on Friday evening proved futile as ISRO scientists failed to re-establish contact to resume the mission at the Moon’s south pole. “Efforts have been made to establish communication with the lander and rover to ascertain their wake-up condition. As of now, no signals have been received from them,” said ISRO on platform X at 6.48pm on Friday. ISRO’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) tried to re-establish contact with the lander and rover, but reawakening could not be guaranteed.
However, ISRO scientists have not given up hope. They will try again on Saturday, hoping that the lander and rover’s batteries are better recharged with more time as the solar panels get heated. The Sun rose on the lunar south pole on Wednesday.
Pragyaan and Vikram were put in a sleep mode on September 2 and 4, respectively, to avoid damage to their systems on exposure to extreme cold of around -200 degrees Celsius. The mission was launched on July 14 and the Chandrayaan-3 propulsion module carried the lander and rover through the lunar orbits before releasing the lander carrying the rover, which made a successful soft-landing near the lunar south pole on August 23, the first to ever do so.
The sunrise over the lunar horizon on Wednesday, however, did not seem to have reduced the effects of the extreme cold as low as -203 degrees Celsius on the Moon’s south pole, which may have prevented effective reactivation of the lander and rover’s batteries, ISRO scientists said, adding that they remain hopeful of achieving success in the coming days.
The solar panels on the rover and lander need sufficient heat to warm up and reactivate the solar panels for batteries to recharge and get into action. Experts said the revival could take a couple of days if consistent heat on the Moon’s south pole is received.
Nilesh Desai, Director, ISRO’s Space Application Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad, on Friday confirmed to a news agency that attempts would be made to reactivate Vikram and Pragyaan on Saturday. ISRO informed that “efforts to establish contact (with the lander and rover) will continue.”