Science

Chandrayaan 2 Vikram Lander may be hiding in a shadow, says NASA

Chandrayaan 2 Vikram Lander may be hiding in a shadow, says NASA”

The Chandrayaan 2 lander had a "hard landing" when it lost contact with the ground station during a historic attempt to soft land on the lunar surface, NASA said today, adding that a team of scientists at the United States space agency has not been able to locate it. Even using its most powerful cameras, the lunar orbiter failed to identify the Vikram lander in images captured on 17 September, ten days after the lander supposedly crashed and went incommunicado.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) informed it is possible that the Vikram lander of Chandrayaan-2 is hiding in a shadow on the lunar surface after it had a hard landing.

"LRO flew over the area of the Vikram landing site on 17 September when the local lunar time was near dusk; large shadows covered much of the area".

The scene was captured from a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Quickmap fly-around of the targeted landing site image width is about 150 km across the centre.

The deadline to contact Vikram, which had a 14-day mission life, ended on Saturday last as lunar night began to fall in the south polar region of the moon where the lander was attempting a descent. The moon orbiter will try to "locate and image the lander" again in October when lighting will be favourable, according to the statement.

A wide view of a series of Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter Camera's narrow angle camera images collected on September 17 showing the area of the targeted Vikram landing site. The site was located about 600 kilometers from the south pole in a relatively ancient terrain, according to the U.S. space agency.

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On Friday, Nasa tweeted the images of the targeted landing site of the Indian module.

"The LROC team will analyse these new images and compare them to previous images to see if the lander is visible (it may be in shadow or outside the imaged area)".

In total 14 payloads are part of the mission with the Orbiter carrying eight payloads, the lander three and Rover two.

The space agency announced that the Chandrayaan-2 mission, despite Vikram having a crash landing, had achieved 98% of its objectives. We have got no signal from lander but orbiter is working very well. Sivan added that once the committees submit their report, the space agency will work on a plan.

Chandrayaan-2 was India's first attempt to at a soft landing on the lunar surface.

In its statement, ISRO said "normal performance (of Vikram) was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km", and "subsequently, communication from Lander to the ground stations was lost". Beijing's Chang'e-4 probe touched down on the far side this year, while Israel made an unsuccessful attempt to land its Beresheet spacecraft on the moon in April.



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