Science

India's moon mission locates landing craft, no communication yet

India's moon mission locates landing craft, no communication yet”

Vikram Lander was just 2.1 kilometres above the lunar surface when it lost contact with ISRO, throwing a pall of gloom over the Indian space agency, but Sunday's development has rekindled hopes. The battery of Vikram Lander, which is carrying the Pragyan Rover, has an expected life of 14 days, so ISRO has another 12 days to establish communication with the craft.

Vikram lander has been located by the orbiter of Chandrayaan-2, but no communication with it yet, ISRO added. According to the ISRO, the orbiter will continue to circle the Moon for nearly seven years, providing "high resolution images which will be immensely useful to the global scientific community".

The ISRO did not, however, say in what condition the lander is on the lunar surface.

"We are trying to establish contact".

"We are making all-out efforts to see whether communication can be re-established with the lander", the official said. Minutes before its scheduled soft-landing, the communication with Vikram Lander was lost.

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The eight important scientific payloads on the orbiter are more sophisticated than the ones that went on the first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1.

The mission took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on July 22. The camera that imaged these pixels is the Orbiter High Resolution Camera (OHRC), which has the highest resolution of any cameras in orbit around the Moon today.

In 2014, it became only the fourth nation to put a satellite into orbit around the Red Planet, and in 2017 India's space agency launched 104 satellites in a single mission.

The emerging Asian giant's most complex space mission, carrying an orbiter, lander and rover, was nearly entirely designed and made in India - and cost a relatively modest US$140 million (S$193.1 million).

But communication with the lander snapped just 2.1 km short of the lunar surface. Scientists believe there could be water ice on the South Pole.



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