The silent Vikram lander of the Chandrayaan-2 mission is likely to remain silent forever. The lander lies on a part of the Moon where a cold night is descending fast. Temperatures in the area will plunge to less than minus 200 degrees Celsius. This means that even if Vikram survived its September 7 lunar descent during which it lost contact with Earth, the lander’s instruments will be frozen out of operation during the cold lunar night.
The Indian Space Research Organisation has yet to confirm Vikram’s current status. But, in the last few days, the space agency has dropped hints that hopes for re-establishing communication with the Vikram lander, which houses the six-wheeled Pragyaan rover, have ended.
On Tuesday, Isro put up a tweet in which theu thanked the whole country for support. Then on Thursday, Isro offered an update on the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, noting that the spacecraft was performing well in its orbit around the Moon and was carrying out its experiments.
The mission update had a mention of the Vikram lander: A national-level team of academicians and Isro scientists was looking into why contact with Chandrayaan-2 lander was lost.
And now, with hours to go before night fully descends on the part of the Moon where Vikram is, it probably is time to bid the lander goodbye.