The Indian space agency ISRO remains hopeful that the lander and rover of its lunar mission Chandrayaan-3 will wake up after a cold lunar night. Initially, the authority had hoped that this would happen at the beginning of the latest lunar day at the end of last week, but that did not happen, ISRO announced on Platform X. "We don't have a signal yet, but I can't say it won't come anymore," ISRO chief Sreedhara Somanath told the Times of India.
A lander is designed to land on a celestial body. A rover is a vehicle used to explore celestial bodies. Both are currently in a sleep mode.
A lunar day and a lunar night each last 14 Earth days. On a moonlit night it could get -200 degrees or even colder, they said - a challenge for the devices. During the lunar day, there is continuous sunlight, "which means the temperature only increases," Somanath continued. "The systems could also wake up on day 14, but there is no way to predict when that might happen."
On August 23, India became the fourth country to ever make a soft landing on the moon. Previously, only the Soviet Union, the USA and China had succeeded in this. The unmanned mission was intended to explore the little-studied south side of the moon, with a focus on, among other things, the frozen water present there. Such ice could be useful, among other things, in future manned lunar missions. “Chandrayaan” means “lunar vehicle” in Sanskrit.
At the end of the last lunar day, the rover and lander were put into sleep mode after two weeks of data collection. Their tasks were complete, ISRO said at the time, while stressing that they were hoping for an awakening.