ISRO News: Chandrayaan-3 falls asleep and Aditya L1 is On Duty

Chandrayaan-3 falls asleep and Aditya L1 is On Duty

India’s Aditya-L1 spacecraft, the country’s first mission aimed at studying the Sun, has accomplished its initial Orbit Raising Maneuver. This procedure entailed activating its onboard engines to extend its distance from Earth.

Chandrayaan-3 falls asleep and Aditya L1 is On Duty

The spacecraft was originally placed into an elliptical orbit around our planet with the aid of a PSLV-XL rocket at 1 PM Indian Standard Time on September 2nd.

Meanwhile, the Indian lunar probe Chandrayaan-3 is being deactivated and placed in a state of dormancy near the Lunar South Pole, as the lunar night, which lasts a fortnight on Earth, is rapidly approaching.

ISRO reported on X, formerly known as Twitter, September 3rd: “Aditya-L1 Mission Update: The satellite remains in good health and is operating as expected.

The first Earth-bound maneuver (EBN#1) was successfully conducted from ISTRAC, Bengaluru, resulting in a new orbit of 245 km x 22,459 km. The next maneuver (EBN#2) is scheduled for September 5, 2023, at approximately 03:00 AM IST.”

ISRO shared the following update on X on September 2nd regarding the Chandrayaan-3 Mission: “Chandrayaan-3 Mission Update: The Rover has accomplished its designated tasks and has been securely positioned into Sleep mode.

Both the APXS and LIBS payloads have been deactivated, with data from these instruments transmitted to Earth via the Lander. Presently, the battery is fully charged, and the solar panel has been adjusted to capture the sunlight during the upcoming sunrise, expected on September 22, 2023.

The receiver remains active, with hopes for a successful reawakening to undertake another series of missions! If not, it will forever remain India’s lunar emissary.”

Aditya-L1, despite being a mission dedicated to solar research, will journey just 1 percent of the Earth-Sun distance. This is in contrast to NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which has ventured millions of miles into close proximity to the Sun.

The Aditya-L1 launch occurred just 10 days following India’s successful soft landing of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, which includes both a lander and a rover, on the Moon. Chandrayaan-3 made a gentle landing in the vicinity of the Lunar South Pole on August 23rd.

During the past 11 days, the Chandrayaan-3 lander and rover have been conducting on-site experiments using their respective instruments and exchanging the collected data.

Nevertheless, the Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover are rapidly approaching the conclusion of their Lunar day, as the onset of the lunar night approaches. Since both of them rely on solar power, they will be unable to operate during the two-week-long lunar night.

Dr. S. Somanath, Chairman of ISRO, provided an update after the successful launch of the Aditya-L1 solar observatory satellite, stating, “The Chandrayaan-3 Lander and Rover are operational, and our payload teams are overseeing all activities. The Rover has covered a distance of 100 meters from the lander.”

Chandrayaan-3 Found Something on the Moon

On average, the temperature during the Lunar day can reach approximately 120 degrees Celsius (for reference, this is significantly higher than the boiling point of water and more than twice the hottest temperatures ever recorded on Earth).

In contrast, Lunar nights can plummet to as cold as -130 degrees Celsius (which is nearly twice as cold as the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth).At the Lunar poles, these conditions could become even more severe and inhospitable.

ISRO’s announcement that the Chandrayaan-3 rover is in sleep mode and the lander is to be similarly deactivated indicates that ISRO possesses the potential technological capabilities and optimism necessary to ensure the survival of Vikram and Pragyan during the challenging Lunar night.

Alternatively, if the mission were to conclude after the Lunar day, ISRO might have discussed the possibility of bidding a permanent farewell to the lander and rover.

They could achieve this by deactivating all onboard equipment, entering a hibernation mode, and safeguarding themselves from the extreme cold (similar to wrapping oneself in a blanket). This approach could potentially enable Chandrayaan-3 to endure the harsh Lunar night.

When the next Lunar dawn emerges (expected in the third week of September), should the lander and rover manage to endure, they can once more harness the Sun’s energy to recharge their batteries and resume their operations.

While it remains a possibility, this development could present a significant advantage to ISRO’s exploration endeavors in the Lunar South Pole region—a region that India currently has exclusive access to explore.

However, for the pair to operate as intended, it is imperative that both the lander and rover successfully endure the lunar night. This is due to the fact that the Lander serves as the primary and direct communication link with Earth.

Final Words

If the Lander encounters difficulties in direct communication, it could potentially utilize the services of the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter to relay its communications to Earth and receive new instructions.

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In contrast, the 26-kilogram rover is entirely reliant on the lander to receive commands and conduct communications as well as data transfers.

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