ISRO Extends Chandrayaan-3 Mission: Rover in Hibernation Mode
As Chandrayaan-3 touched down on the lunar surface on August 23, it marked the beginning of a critical phase for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). With 14 Earth days of continuous sunlight on the Moon, ISRO aims to maximize the mission’s potential by extending the life of its lander and rover.
Hibernation Mode for Pragyan Rover
Optimizing Lunar Mission To ensure the longevity of the Chandrayaan-3 lander and rover, ISRO has initiated a significant move. The Pragyan rover has been placed in hibernation mode, a strategic decision as daylight hours on the Moon are dwindling.
ISRO Extends Chandrayaan-3 Mission
Data Transmission and Payload Status
Successful Mission Tasks ISRO reported that the Rover has completed its assigned tasks and has been safely parked in sleep mode. Additionally, the APXS and LIBS payloads have been deactivated, with data transmission to Earth via the Lander.
Lunar Challenges and Electronic Survival
Withstanding Extreme Conditions The mission’s initial plan envisioned the lander and rover operating for one Lunar day, approximately 14 Earth days. However, the harsh lunar nighttime, where temperatures plummet below -120 degrees Celsius, poses challenges. Interestingly, past missions suggest that electronic systems may revive once sunlight returns.
ISRO’s Strategy for Extension
Efforts to Prolong Mission ISRO Chairman S Somanath expressed the organization’s commitment to extend the mission’s duration. The process of preparing the lander and rover for the lunar night has already begun, ensuring they can endure the challenging conditions.
Optimism Amid Uncertainty
Battery Status and Possibilities As of now, the rover’s battery is fully charged, and preparations are in place to receive sunlight during the next lunar sunrise, expected on September 22, 2023. The outcome remains uncertain; whether the payloads will reactivate depends on the battery’s endurance.
The Lunar Ambassador’s Fate
Hoping for a Successful Awakening ISRO remains hopeful for a successful mission extension. If all goes well, the lander and rover will continue their lunar exploration. Otherwise, they will remain as India’s lunar ambassadors on the Moon.
Mission Timeline and Achievements
Chandrayaan-3’s Journey Chandrayaan-3’s lunar journey began on August 23, aligning with lunar daytime. The decision to put the lander and rover into hibernation mode is scheduled a few days before September 6, when lunar nightfall occurs.
Data Transmission and Insights
Scientific Gains Throughout the mission, four instruments on the lander and two on the rover have been operational, continuously transmitting valuable data back to Earth. ISRO has already provided glimpses of the insights gained from these instruments.
FAQs for ISRO Extends Chandrayaan-3 Mission
Q1: What is the purpose of putting the rover in hibernation mode?
A1: Hibernation mode preserves the rover’s energy during lunar nighttime, ensuring its survival and the potential for further exploration when sunlight returns.
Q2: Can the electronic systems revive after lunar nighttime?
A2: Past missions suggest the possibility of electronic systems reactivating once exposed to sunlight after lunar nighttime.
Q3: What data has ISRO collected from the mission so far?
A3: ISRO has received valuable data from four instruments on the lander and two on the rover, offering insights into lunar conditions.