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India’s lunar lander and rover have been put to bed as the Sun begins to set on the Moon, the country’s space research agency Isro has said.
They have been put in “sleep mode” and “will fall asleep next to each other once the solar power is depleted and the battery is drained”, it said.
Isro added that it hoped they would reawaken “around 22 September” when the next lunar day starts.
The lander and rover need sunlight to charge their batteries and function.
The Vikram lander – carrying a rover called Pragyaan in its belly – touched down on the Moon’s little-explored south pole on 23 August.
With that India became the first country to land near the lunar south pole. It also joined an elite club of countries to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, after the US, the former Soviet Union and China.
The Indian space agency has been providing regular updates on the lander and the rover’s movements and findings and sharing images taken by them.
In its latest update on Monday morning, Isro said Vikram had “soft-landed on the Moon again!”
After the Chandrayaan-3′ mission’s lander was “commanded to fire its engines, it rose up by about 40cm [16 inches] and landed at a distance of 30-40cm”, Isro said.
This “successful hop experiment” means the spacecraft could be used in future to bring samples back to the Earth or for human missions, it added.