21 Sept 2023

Will Chandrayaan-3 Lander And Rover Wake Again? Space Scientist Suvendu Patnayak Explains

Bhubaneswar: The Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover of Chandrayaan-3, who are currently in "sleep mode" near the Moon’s South Pole after having completed their set tasks, are expected to awake on Friday (September 22).


With dawn breaking on the Moon, ISRO is now gearing up to try to re-establish communication with its lunar mission Chandrayaan-3's solar-powered lander Vikram and rover Pragyan, to revive them so that they can continue with scientific experiments.

Both the lander and the rover were put into sleep mode earlier this month on September 4 and 2 respectively. 

Lander and rover solar panels are expected to be optimally charged soon

Sunlight is back on the south polar region of the Moon, where both the lander and rover are located. Their solar panels are expected to be optimally charged soon. ISRO is now slated to make efforts to establish contact with them again, check their health and ability to resume functioning, and try to revive them.

Meanwhile, Bhubaneswar-based space scientist Suvendu Patnayak has explained the possibility of Chandrayaan Lander and Rover waking again.

“The Chandrayaan-3 landed successfully and it worked for almost 14 days. It was designed to work for 14 days on the moon. Its life period was only 14 days because the moon's temperature falls down to minus 250 degrees during the lunar nighttime. So it worked during the Sun hours or daytime and during that it had already given all the data it was supposed to,” said Suvendu Patnayak.

Patnayak recently superannuated as the deputy director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium in Bhubaneswar.

‘If it works again, it will be a boon for us’

“It is very difficult for few electronic components to work in such a huge range of temperature. So it was expected it would not work after 14 day. But a few scientists are very hopeful that it may work again. So if it works again, it will be a boon for us and we will perform the same experiments again and again,” Patnayak added.

India took a giant leap as the Chandrayaan-3 lander module successfully landed on the moon's South Pole on August 23, making it the first country to have achieved the historic feat and bringing to an end the disappointment over the crash landing of the Chandrayaan-2, four years ago.

After having landed, the Vikram Lander and the Pragyan rover performed different sets of tasks on the lunar surface for about 14 days, including finding the presence of sulphur and other minor elements, recording relative temperature, and listening to movements around it. One day on the Moon is equal to 14 days on Earth.

The stated objectives of Chandrayaan-3, India's third lunar mission were a safe and soft landing, rover roving on the Moon's surface, and in-situ scientific experiments.

ISRO expect awakening around September 22

In early September, the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover were set in "sleep mode", with ISRO expecting awakening around September 22.

In a development that may fascinate science enthusiasts, the Vikram Lander had also successfully undergone a hop experiment, in which it had experimented possibility of re-launching it from the lunar surface. The lander elevated itself by about 40 cm and landed safely at a distance of 30-40 cm away.

Explaining the importance of this event, ISRO had said the 'kick-start' would enthuse future sample return and human missions on the moon.

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