India’s Moon lander Vikram and rover Pragyan yet to heed wake up call

Vikram and Pragyan were put to sleep on Sept 4 and 2, respectively and were to be woken up on September 22, ISRO had said.

Chennai: Awake! Arise! Stop not till the additional goal is reached! This seems to be the message that the Indian space agency is sending to the country’s moon lander Vikram and rover Pragyan. But the two are in deep slumber.

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“Efforts have been made to establish communication with the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover to ascertain their wake-up condition. As of now, no signals have been received from them. Efforts to establish contact will continue,” the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

Vikram and Pragyan were put to sleep on Sept 4 and 2, respectively and were to be woken up on September 22, ISRO had said.

On September 4, ISRO had said the lander’s battery was fully charged.

“The solar panel is oriented to receive the light at the next sunrise expected on September 22, 2023. The receiver is kept on. Hoping for a successful awakening for another set of assignments! Else, it will forever stay there as India’s lunar ambassador,” ISRO had said.

India on August 23 reached the Moon with its lander safely landing on the lunar soil in a text book style. Later, the rover rolled down and started doing experiments.

ISRO said, the rover has found the presence of oxygen, aluminium, sulphur and other materials near the lunar south pole, while investigation regarding the presence of hydrogen is underway.

Earlier ISRO had said Vikram soft landed on the lunar soil for a second time. In a post on X, ISRO said: “Vikram Lander exceeded its mission objectives. It successfully underwent a hop experiment.”

Prior to going to sleep, Vikram on ISRO’s command hopped upwards for about 40m and landed safely for a second time on the lunar soil at a distance of 30-40 cm away.

According to the space agency, the kick-start gives enthusiasm for lunar sample return in the future and also for manned missions to the moon.

Prior to going to sleep, Vikram’s ChaSTE, RAMBHA-LP and ILSA payloads conducted in-situ experiments at the new location. The data collected is received at the Earth. Payloads are now switched off. Lander receivers are kept ON, ISRO had said.

The design life of the lander and rover was 14 earth days and they were expected to do their experiments during that time. If they wake up and are able to do work, then it is a bonus for the country. Owing to extreme cold nights on the moon, the electronics may or may not survive is what ISRO officials said.

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