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Chandrayaan-3: Vikram Lander in Hibernation, Can ISRO Wake it up again?

Vikram Lander, of India's Chandrayaan-3 mission, went into hibernation after completing it's tasks having landed softly on Moon. This article explores the possibilities and challenges of awakening the lander and resuming its mission.

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By Crickified
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Vikram Lander as captured from Pragyan Rover's camera

The Chandrayaan-3 mission, led by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), made history when its Vikram lander successfully touched down on the lunar surface, making India the fourth country to achieve this feat. After conducting studies and experiments on the Moon for 14 days, the Vikram lander entered sleep mode due to the onset of the lunar night. Now, ISRO is planning to reactivate the lander and continue its mission. In this article, we will explore the future of Chandrayaan-3 and the possibility of waking up the Vikram lander from its deep sleep.

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The Chandrayaan-3 Mission

The Chandrayaan-3 mission was launched on July 14 from Sri Harikota, India's main spaceport in Andhra Pradesh. Since its launch, Chandrayaan-3 has been orbiting the Earth and gradually increasing the range of its orbits. The mission's main objective is to explore the lunar south pole, an area that may contain water ice or frozen water, which can be crucial for future moon missions.

The Achievements of Vikram Lander

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On August 23, the Vikram lander successfully landed on the lunar surface, marking a significant milestone for ISRO. It conducted various experiments and studies on the Moon's south pole, including a spectrometer analysis of the mineral composition of the lunar surface. Additionally, the lander captured seismic activity on the Moon, providing valuable insights into the natural phenomena occurring on our celestial neighbor.

The Lunar Night and Sleep Mode

After 14 days of conducting in-situ experiments, the lunar night began, signifying the end of the Chandrayaan-3 mission. To safeguard the Vikram lander from the harsh conditions of the lunar night, ISRO put it into sleep mode. During the lunar night, the Moon experiences extreme darkness and freezing temperatures as low as -200 degrees Celsius. These conditions pose significant challenges for the lander's survival.

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Possibility of Reactivating the Lander

While the prospects of reactivating the Vikram lander seem challenging, there is still hope. ISRO scientists believe that if the lander's solar panels can charge up with sunlight, there is a possibility of waking it up. The lander is expected to be reactivated on September 22, and ISRO will make efforts to revive its systems. If successful, the Chandrayaan-3 mission will continue its lunar studies beyond its initial mission duration. However, if the lander remains dormant, it will remain on the Moon's south pole as a testament to India's space exploration endeavors.

Challenges Faced by the Lander

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The lunar night presents several challenges for the Vikram lander. The extreme cold can cause damage to the lander's systems and components. The lack of sunlight also poses a significant obstacle, as the lander relies on solar panels to generate power. Additionally, the lander must withstand the harsh lunar environment, including the rugged terrain of the south pole.

ISRO's Efforts to Reactivate the Lander

ISRO has taken several precautions to increase the chances of reactivating the Vikram lander. The lander has been equipped with sturdier legs to withstand the rough terrain of the lunar surface. Additionally, adjustments have been made to broaden the potential landing zone, enhancing the lander's chances of a successful touchdown.

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Future Implications

If ISRO succeeds in waking up the Vikram lander, it will mark a significant achievement for India's space program. The mission will continue to contribute valuable data and insights into the lunar environment, helping scientists understand the Moon's geology and potential resources. Furthermore, it will strengthen India's position as a prominent player in the field of space exploration.

Conclusion

As the Chandrayaan-3 mission progresses, the future of the Vikram lander remains uncertain. While the challenges posed by the lunar night are significant, ISRO's efforts to reactivate the lander give hope for a successful outcome. The reactivation of the lander would enable further exploration and scientific discoveries on the Moon's south pole. Whether the lander wakes up or stays dormant, India's achievements in space exploration have already left an indelible mark on the world stage.

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