The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday said that Chandrayaan-3's Vikram lander made a touchdown on the lunar surface for a second time. This comes days after the successful moon landing of India's third lunar mission.
ISRO also stated that the lander has successfully “exceeded Chandrayaan-3 mission objectives”. Hours after, ISRO announced that Vikram lander had completed a crucial “hop experiment”, the Indian space agency said that the “lander is set in the sleep mode”.
The lander was set in sleep mode after it completed its two-week assignment of conducting experiments. ISRO said that all the data collected by the lander has been received on Earth.
What is “A Hop Experiment?”
On Monday, ISRO announced that India's third lunar mission has achieved a significant milestone after the Vikram lander successfully undertook a hop experiment.
By a “hop experiment”, India's space agency meant that the Vikram lander had once again made a soft landing on the surface of the Moon.
Explaining the manoeuvre, ISRO shared a video on X, formerly Twitter, which exhibited Vikram Lander undergoing the hop experiment.
In addition, ISRO elaborated on the experiment and said the Vikram Lander fired its engines on command. This elevated it 40 cm, as the agency expected, and then landed back safely at a distance of 30 to 40 cm away from its position.
ISRO's tweet read, “Chandrayaan-3 Mission: Vikram soft-landed on, again! Vikram Lander exceeded its mission objectives. It successfully underwent a hop experiment. On command, it fired the engines, elevated itself by about 40 cm as expected and landed safely at a distance of 30 – 40 cm away.”
Why is “A Hop Experiment” a significant achievement for ISRO?
In its detailed tweet, ISRO stated that a hop experiment is extremely crucial for a lunar mission. The space agency claimed that this “kick start” motivates future missions that will carry astronauts on the lunar surface.
ISROS said, “Importance?: This 'kick-start' enthuses future sample return and human missions!”
Condition of the system?
ISRO added, “All systems performed nominally and are healthy. Deployed Ramp, ChaSTE and ILSA were folded back and redeployed successfully after the experiment.”
What does Chandrayaan-3 being in “sleep mode” mean?
Soon after announcing the success of Vikram's hop experiment, ISRO revealed that the lander was set into sleep mode. Elaborating on this, the agency said that the lander “will fall asleep next to Pragyan rover” after its “solar power is depleted and the battery is drained. The Vikram will remain in that state until September 22, when its “solar panel is oriented to receive light at the next sunrise."
While sharing the before and after images of the hop experiment, ISRO said, “Vikram Lander is set into sleep mode around 08:00 Hrs. IST today. Prior to that, in-situ experiments by ChaSTE, RAMBHA-LP and ILSA payloads are performed at the new location. The data collected is received at the Earth. Payloads are now switched off. Lander receivers are kept ON. Vikram will fall asleep next to Pragyan once the solar power is depleted and the battery is drained. Hoping for their awakening, around September 22, 2023.”
India created history, as it became the first nation to land near the South Pole region of the Moon after Chandrayaan- 3 successfully made a touchdown on the lunar surface last month.