ISRO Chairman's Bold Prediction: 'Historic Moment If Vikram and Pragyan Awaken on September 22!

Surviving extended exposure to the harsh cold of the lunar surface poses an enormous challenge. ISRO Chairman S. Somanath underscored the historic importance of the possible reactivation of the Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover when they are once again bathed in sunlight on September 22. During an exclusive conversation with Rajesh Kalra, Executive Chairman of Asianet News Network, he shared his optimism about this endeavor.

ISRO Chairman's Bold Prediction: 'Historic Moment If Vikram and Pragyan Awaken on September 22!

To recap the sequence of events, ISRO initiated the sleep mode for the Vikram Lander on September 5. Prior to this, a series of in-situ experiments were conducted at the new location, involving the ChaSTE, RAMBHA-LP, and ILSA payloads, following the successful hop test. Subsequently, the data collected was transmitted to Earth, resulting in the deactivation of the payloads, while the receivers on the Lander remained operational.

Looking ahead to September 22, scientists are preparing to reawaken the equipment on both the lander and the Pragyan rover with hopes of extending their mission. The success of this endeavor largely depends on the equipment's ability to endure the severe cold of lunar nights, where temperatures can drop to approximately minus 200 degrees Celsius, based on historical data from previous lunar missions.

Somanath expressed confidence in Chandrayaan-3's preparations, both for the Vikram Lander and the Pragyan Rover. He emphasized the significance of both systems functioning correctly, allowing them to receive and execute commands. Achieving this on September 22 would mark a historic moment due to the considerable challenge posed by surviving in such frigid temperatures for an extended period and ensuring that the systems perform as intended.

During the interview at ISRO's U R Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru, Somanath acknowledged that Pragyaan has undergone thorough testing for extremely low temperatures. However, he admitted that not all aspects of Vikram have undergone similar testing due to its size. Nonetheless, the shared design heritage between Vikram and Pragyan provides hope that the tests conducted on Pragyaan are sufficient to instill confidence in Vikram's capabilities.

Somanath also confirmed that there is approximately 90 kilograms of fuel remaining, potentially allowing for additional hop tests if the Vikram lander module is reactivated in September 2022. Nevertheless, he acknowledged the challenges involved, particularly the solidification of liquids when temperatures drop below 180 degrees, necessitating the thawing of pipelines. Despite these challenges, Somanath expressed determination to overcome them with confidence and ingenuity.


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