Chandrayaan 3: After Pragyan Rover, ISRO sets Vikram Lander into ‘sleep mode’

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) shared an update regarding Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram Lander on Monday and said it had been set into sleep mode around 08:00 am in the morning.

ISRO hsares images of Vikram Lander from Moon’s surface.(ISRO)

“Vikram Lander is set into sleep mode around 08:00 Hrs. IST today. Prior to that, in-situ experiments by ChaSTE, RAMBHA-LP and ILSA payloads are performed at the new location. The data collected is received at the Earth,” it said.

The space agency further informed that the lander’s payloads have been deactivated, while its receivers remain operational. “Vikram will fall asleep next to Pragyan once the solar power is depleted and the battery is drained. Hoping for their awakening, around September 22, 2023,” it said, sharing images from before and after the hop.

The Vikram Lander had earlier successfully attempted a soft landing for the second time today.

ISRO has already activated the sleep mode of Pragyan Rover. The battery is fully charged, the receiver is kept on and the solar panel is oriented to receive the light at the next sunrise expected on September 22.

Chandrayaan 3 mission’s achievements so far

Throughout its operational phase, Vikram Lander and Pragyan rover executed numerous lunar experiments:

1. Rover Exploration: Prior to activating the Pragyan rover’s sleep mode, ISRO reported that it covered a distance of over 100 meters. Notably, the rover’s communication range is limited to 500 meters from the Vikram lander.

2. Historic Sulphur Discovery: The Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) instrument onboard the rover unequivocally confirmed the presence of Sulphur (S) in the lunar surface near the south pole, representing a groundbreaking in-situ measurement. Additionally, LIBS detected Al, Ca, Fe, Cr, Ti, Mn, Si, and O.

3. Pioneering Plasma Measurements: The Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and Atmosphere – Langmuir Probe (RAMBHA-LP) payload onboard Chandrayaan-3 Lander conducted groundbreaking measurements of the near-surface lunar plasma environment over the south polar region. Preliminary assessments suggest relatively sparse plasma near the lunar surface. These quantitative measurements hold promise for mitigating interference in radio wave communication and enhancing future lunar mission designs.

4. Seismic Activity Recording: The Instrument for the Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) payload on Chandrayaan 3 Lander, the first Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology-based instrument on the moon, recorded the movements of the rover and other payloads. Additionally, it captured an event on August 26, deemed to be of natural origin, which is currently under investigation.

5. Thermal Behaviour Exploration: The ChaSTE (Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment) instrument measured the temperature profile of the lunar topsoil around the pole to better understand the thermal characteristics of the moon’s surface. Equipped with a controlled penetration mechanism capable of reaching a depth of 10 cm beneath the surface and featuring 10 individual temperature sensors, the probe generated a temperature variation graph for the lunar surface/near-surface at various depths during its penetration. This marked the first such profile for the lunar south pole, with ongoing detailed observations.

6. Alternate Sulphur Confirmation: Another instrument onboard the rover corroborated the presence of Sulphur (S) in the region using a distinct technique. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectroscope (APXS) detected S alongside other minor elements. This finding has prompted scientists to explore new theories regarding the source of Sulphur (S) in the area, including intrinsic, volcanic, meteoritic, and other possibilities.

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