New Delhi: Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are making their last calls on Friday to bring back lander ‘Vikram’ of the grand lunar mission Chandrayaan-2, as the Moon is set to enter its night in the next 24 hours. The space agency had set September 21 as the deadline to establish contact with ‘Vikram’ after it lost contact with the ground station.
Once the south pole of the Moon, where the lander was located, enters its lunar nights, it will become impossible to restore communication link between the two as the rover was not built to sustain the temperature drop. The temperature on the moon’s surface is likely to fall significantly within the next couple of days, and it can drop down as low as -200 degrees celsius.
Chances are higher for the battery to get drained out once the temperatures go down which will make it next to impossible for ISRO to establish a connection with lander ‘Vikram’.
Giving up hopes, the Indian space agency had on Tuesday tweeted out a “thank you” to its supporters for their encouragement on restoring functions of the failed endeavour.
“Thank you for standing by us. We will continue to keep going forward — propelled by the hopes and dreams of Indians across the world!” read ISRO’s tweet along with a graphical picture that has a caption saying “Thank you for inspiring us to always aim for the sky”.
Racing against time, ISRO has been making tireless efforts at re-establishing a link with the lander. Recently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) also joined hands with ISRO in its endeavour to ‘call home’ the lander.
NASA had sent its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to the south pole of the moon where Vikram is stranded, and take photographs to determine the lander’s fate. However, even their orbiter has been unable to locate or establish link with ‘Vikram’. ISRO has been trying to establish the link with Vikram using its Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu near Bengaluru.
On September 7, the celebrations around India’s second moon mission Chandrayaan 2 turned about-face after lander Vikram on its descent to soft-land on the Moon’s south polar region lost control and crash-landed snapping the communication links with scientists monitoring the mission from ISRO’s ground station.