India Can't Rouse Its Moon Rover

Lander and rover are dormant at the frigid south pole after a 2-week nap
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2023 2:00 PM CDT
India Can't Rouse Its Moon Lander
This image provided by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) shows the Vikram lander as seen by a camera on the Pragyan rover on Aug. 30, 2023.   (Indian Space Research Organisation via AP)

India's mission to the moon can already be counted as a historic success, but this might put a damper on how it ends: The nation's space agency can't rouse its lunar lander or lunar rover after a two-week nap, reports New Scientist. The machines deliberately went into "sleep mode" earlier this month, and they were supposed to wake up on Friday—the end of the two-week lunar night. But "efforts have been made to establish communication with the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover to ascertain their wake-up condition," tweeted the space agency ISRO. "Efforts to establish contact will continue."

With its Chandrayaan-3 mission, India became the fourth nation to land on the moon and the first to land on its south pole. And the latter might explain why the rover and lander aren't waking up, per the BBC. Temperatures at the moon's southern pole can plunge to more than 400 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, and the machines' batteries might have succumbed to the brutal cold. (More India stories.)

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