NASA has captured an image of Vikram lander resting on the lunar surface. The image features Vikram as a small and distinct speck at the centre of the picture. This development follows the soft landing of Vikram lander and the deployment of Pragyaan rover on the Moon’s south pole on 23 August.
Pragyaan rover has been travelling on the lunar surface since its deployment from the Vikram lander of the Chandrayaan-3 mission. The rover has sent back regular updates on its progress, including photos of its surroundings and details about the obstacles it has encountered.
The photograph highlights the lander’s dark shadow, clearly visible against the bright lunar terrain.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that their lunar lander and rover have entered a temporary “sleep mode” on the Moon. The decision to transition the lunar lander and rover into sleep mode was a planned manoeuvre, designed to conserve energy and ensure their survival during the harsh lunar night. Vikram and Pragyaan will remain dormant, relying on their battery power until their solar panels can recharge the batteries once the lunar day resumes.
The lunar day-night cycle on the Moon is approximately 14 Earth days long, with extreme temperature fluctuations. Sunlight is crucial for charging the lander and rover’s batteries and enabling their instruments and systems to function effectively. ISRO hopes that Vikram and Pragyaan will reawaken and continue their mission activities around 22 September.
The lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, made India the first country in history to have achieved a successful soft landing in the lunar south pole region.
ISRO also revealed that Vikram lander had “soft-landed on the Moon again” as part of a planned “successful hop experiment.” This achievement resulted from Earth’s commands to the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s lander, Vikram, instructing it to fire its engines.
During the hop experiment, Vikram lifted itself approximately 40 centimetres (16 inches) above the lunar surface and descended again, landing at a 30-40 centimetres distance.
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