Chandrayaan-3 mission: Pragyan rover and Vikram lander settle down for a long lunar night’s sleep; may wake up on Sept 22

Having been hard at work for nearly two weeks, India’s Pragyan rover and Vikram lander have settled down for a long sleep through the lunar night. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said that they had successfully completed their assignments since Vikram made a perfect landing — a pioneering one, in fact — on the south pole of the moon on August 23.

India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission: The path taken by Pragyan rover after rolling out of Vikram lander. Photo courtesy: X/@ISROSpaceflight

Pragyan rover has covered an area of about 100 metres, taking samples, photos, analysing the lunar soil composition, and so on. Vikram lander, too, has been working from its stationary position.

Both the rover the lander are fitted with cameras that have been sending back images of the hitherto unexplored lunar south pole. India is the first nation to have landed in this region of the moon.

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With this, India’s groundbreaking Chandrayaan-3 moon mission has achieved its objectives, but there could be more riches in store. Scientists at ISRO hope that the equipment of the lander and rover would survive the freezing lunar night and would wake up with the next lunar sunrise on September 22.

Pragyan rover is reportedly now parked in a safe position, giving it the best chance of staying undamaged during the lunar night hibernation.

An ISRO statement said: “The Rover completed its assignments. It is now safely parked and set into Sleep mode. APXS and LIBS payloads are turned off. Data from these payloads is transmitted to the Earth via the Lander. Currently, the battery is 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.”