The Chandrayaan-3 mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) faces dwindling prospects of revival.
Despite hopes that the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover would wake up during the lunar sunrise on 22 September, this didn't happen, and the chances for revival diminish as time passes.
After Chandrayaan-3 fulfilled its scientific objectives, ISRO put it into a "sleep mode" before lunar sunset in an attempt to extend the mission's lifespan.
The mission was originally designed to operate for one lunar day, equivalent to about 14 Earth days.
The idea was that the lander and rover would reawaken when they received sunlight at the lunar south pole, their location.
However, the electronics on the lander and rover are not built to endure the harsh lunar night conditions. During this time, there's complete darkness and no sunlight to power the solar-driven mission, plus temperatures plummet to below minus 200 degrees, risking freezing and damage to the electronics.
Despite optimism from ISRO scientists, who believed the spacecraft could withstand these conditions and wake up on 22 September, it seems that this didn't occur.
Although the area where the rover and lander are located would have been in sunlight on that day, allowing for battery recharging, ISRO hasn't managed to make contact with the mission, raising concerns that hope is fading.
Former ISRO chief AS Kiran Kumar notes that with each passing hour, the chances of revival diminish. He suggests that many components may not have survived the Moon's extreme conditions.
Nonetheless, Chandrayaan-3 is still a success, as its primary goal was to showcase India's capability to softly land a spacecraft on the Moon.
Additionally, the Pragyan rover made significant discoveries, including the detection of various elements, notably sulphur, a first for lunar missions.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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