(CTN NEWS) – India’s lunar rover has successfully completed its mission on the moon’s surface and has entered a state of hibernation, all within two weeks of its historic landing near the lunar south pole, according to India’s space mission.
“The rover has fulfilled all its designated tasks and is now securely parked in a sleep mode,” stated the Indian Space Research Organization on Saturday, as daylight on that portion of the moon drew to a close.
The rover’s instruments have been powered down, and the data it gathered has been transmitted back to Earth via the lander.
The Chandrayaan-3 lander and rover had been scheduled to function for a single lunar day, equivalent to 14 Earth days.
“At present, the battery is fully charged, and the solar panel is positioned to capture light during the upcoming sunrise expected on September 22, 2023.
The receiver remains active, with hopes for a successful reawakening to undertake another set of tasks!” the statement added.
Challenges Faced by India’s Moon Mission Electronics in Extreme Cold
There has been no information provided regarding the outcomes of the rover’s search for indications of frozen water on the lunar surface, which could prove valuable for future astronaut missions, potentially serving as a source of drinking water or a means to produce rocket fuel.
Earlier in the week, the space agency announced that the lunar rover had verified the presence of sulfur and identified several other elements.
Additionally, the rover’s laser-induced spectroscope instrument detected the presence of aluminum, iron, calcium, chromium, titanium, manganese, oxygen, and silicon on the lunar surface.
According to The Indian Express newspaper, the electronic components aboard the Indian moon mission are not engineered to endure extremely low temperatures, specifically those plummeting to less than minus 120 degrees Celsius (equivalent to minus 184 degrees Fahrenheit) during the moon’s nighttime period.
Furthermore, the lunar night stretches for as long as 14 Earth days.
Pallava Bagla, a science writer and co-author of books centered on India’s space endeavors, pointed out that the rover’s battery capacity is quite limited.
The collected data has been returned to Earth and will initially be scrutinized by Indian scientists, followed by analysis from the global scientific community, Bagla stated.
He noted that when the moon’s sunrise arrives, there remains uncertainty as to whether the rover will awaken, given that its electronic systems can falter in the extreme cold of lunar nights.
Bagla emphasized that the technology needed to construct electronic circuits and components capable of enduring the moon’s frigid temperatures is not presently available in India.
India’s Remarkable Achievement: Joining the Elite Club of Lunar Landers
India, having previously experienced an unsuccessful moon landing attempt in 2019, recently achieved a significant milestone, joining the exclusive ranks of the United States, the Soviet Union, and China as the fourth nation to successfully land on the moon.
This triumph underscores India’s growing reputation as a technological and space authority and aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to portray the nation as an emerging powerhouse, solidifying its position among the global elite.
The mission commenced over a month ago with an approximate budget of $75 million.
India’s achievement comes just days after Russia’s Luna-25, which was targeting the same lunar region, veered into an uncontrollable orbit and crashed. This mission had aimed to mark Russia’s first successful lunar landing in 47 years.
The head of Russia’s state-controlled space corporation, Roscosmos, attributed this failure to a lack of expertise resulting from the extended hiatus in lunar exploration following the last Soviet mission to the moon in 1976.
India, active in space exploration since the 1960s, has launched satellites for both its own use and for other nations. Additionally, it successfully placed a satellite in orbit around Mars in 2014.
India is now preparing for its inaugural mission to the International Space Station next year, in collaboration with the United States.
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