BENGALURU: Hours after confirming that the Chandrayaan-3 lander successfully performed a “hop”
Monday said the lander had slipped into
“Vikram Lander is set into sleep mode around 8am 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.
Payloads are now switched off. Lander receivers are kept ON. Vikram will fall asleep next to
once the solar power is depleted and the battery is drained. Hoping for their awakening, around September 22,” Isro said.
Chandrayaan-3 project director P Veeramuthuvel told TOI: “The sleep command was initiated after the hop and redeployment of the payloads.”
Earlier in the day, Isro had said Vikram has achieved another significant milestone on the Moon by performing a hop, which could give important learnings for future missions that may aim at bringing back samples.
“Vikram Lander exceeded its mission objectives. It successfully underwent a hop experiment. On command, it fired the engines, elevated itself by about 40cm as expected and landed safely at a distance of 30–40cm away. This ‘kick-start’ enthuses future sample return and human missions!,” Isro said.
Stating that all systems performed nominally and are healthy, Isro said the payloads that had been deployed — Ramp, ChaSTE and ILSA — were folded back and then redeployed again successfully after the experiment.
While Isro did not give a time for when this experiment was conducted, it is likely to have been done before the sleep command was enabled Sunday.
Both Vikram and the lander Pragyan would now be on sleep mode with Isro hoping that they would come back to life on September 22, when the Sun rises again on Moon.
Between August 23 and Saturday, both Pragyan and Vikram have sent a repository of science data, some of which has been made public by Isro.
Pragyan’s Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectroscope (APXS) have confirmed the presence of sulphur, while Vikram’s Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) has measured the temperature profile of the lunar topsoil around the pole.
Another Vikram payload, the Instrument for the Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) recorded a “natural event” that occurred on August 26. Isro is yet to confirm the source of the event. Vikram’s RAMBHA payload has also sent data.
On sulphur indicating Moon’s volcanic past and the uses of these discoveries by Pragyan, Isro chairman S Somanath told STOI: “Of course sulphur is a volcanic material. Its availability is high and it has some utility as some earlier research (global) hypotheses have shown.”
He, however, added that what Isro has so far is only measurement data and that nothing conclusive can be said immediately.
“We have only made initial assessments so far. The PIs (principal investigators) will work with the data, use models and make predictions. Some (scientific) papers have already reached me about this, I am yet to review it,” Isro chairman S Somanath had told TOI last week.