The Vikram lander and Pragyan rover had been placed in 'sleep mode' for approximately 16 Earth days before the lunar night enveloped the south pole of the Moon.
Tirupati: The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has rescheduled its efforts to re-establish communication with the Pragyan rover and Vikram lander, both located near the moon's south polar region, so as to determine their operational status.
The initially planned reactivation, set for Friday, has been rescheduled to Saturday.
This decision was made after Isro's initial attempts to establish contact with Vikram and Pragyan were unsuccessful. "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," Isro stated on its official ‘X’ platform.
According to Director of Space Applications Centre, Nilesh Desai, initially, the plan was to revive the Pragyan rover and Vikram lander on the evening of September 22, but unforeseen factors necessitated a one-day delay.
"The Pragyan rover and the Vikram lander will undergo reactivation tomorrow (September 23). The intention had been to manoeuvre the rover over a distance of nearly 350 metres, but it has covered only 105 metres. Last time, we moved it for 10 days on the surface of the moon," Nilesh Desai said on Friday.
Despite this, the Chandrayaan-3 mission has already achieved significant milestones. The Vikram lander successfully conducted a hop test on the moon, which will help in future moon missions and human exploration. During their operational phase, both the Vikram Lander and Pragyan rover conducted in-situ experiments, providing valuable insights into lunar elements, Isro said.
The rover's detections of elements like sulphur, aluminium, calcium, ferrous, chromium, titanium, manganese, silicon and oxygen have exceeded expectations, Isro noted.
Additionally, it sought the presence of Hydrogen on the lunar surface. The Vikram lander contributed groundbreaking measurements of the near-surface lunar plasma environment over the south polar region.
The Vikram lander and Pragyan rover had been placed in 'sleep mode' for approximately 16 Earth days before the lunar night enveloped the south pole of the Moon. Both lunar mission modules remained functional for a duration of 14 Earth days before entering into the sleep mode on Sept 2 and September 4, respectively.
Isro scientists had previously confirmed that the equipment's batteries, powered by sunlight, were fully charged before being placed in sleep mode. Solar panels had been oriented to receive light at dawn, ensuring that they were in optimal condition for revival.
"To initiate the awakening process, specific conditions must be met, including the generation of power and ensuring that the temperature levels on both Vikram and Pragyan components are within specified parameters. Additionally, achieving the correct Sun elevation angle, ranging from 6° to 9°, is also crucial for this process", according to Isro scientists.
The critical challenge faced by these lunar explorers is the extreme cold conditions at the Moon's south pole, where nighttime temperatures can plummet to as low as -200°Celsius and even lower as one gets closer to the poles.
Isro's current objective is to assess whether the equipment endured these harsh conditions. If successfully revived, it would be considered a remarkable achievement, as the primary objectives of India's third lunar mission have already been accomplished.