WAKE UP, VIKRAM! NASA Joins ISRO Attempts to Contact Vikram

While the country continues its prayers for the sign of life in Vikram Lander which is on the moon in Chandrayaan mission, NASA has joined ISRO in their attempts to revive Vikram. The Vikram lander from ISRO’s Chandrayaan 2 mission is still unresponsive, even as ISRO and NASA kept up efforts to establish communications links with the robot.

However, they may not be able to continue beyond September 20 or 21, when the daylight on the lunar surface will cease, effectively ending any chance the solar panel-equipped Vikram has of being able to charge its solar panels

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Also, the start of 14 ‘Earth nights’ on the Moon will see temperatures will drop to mind-numbingly cold levels (around -238°C), which could badly damage the lander’s equipment. This is why the lander and rover’s mission life was originally meant to be only 14 Earth Days, viz. the sunlit phase of the lunar day.

Even as the window to establish comms with Vikram gradually shrinks, it emerges that the NASA Deep Space Network’s California station has also been trying to contact the lander. US astronomer Scott Tilley told The Times of India that other DSN stations are also doing the same.

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ISRO lost contact with Vikram lander when it was 400 metres above the Moon’s surface on September 7, just minutes before a planned landing. The lander eventually crashed on the surface, and was detected by the orbiter on September 10. It is said to be lying in a tilted position and has so far not responded to calls.


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