Mumbai: The Chandrayaan 2 lander “Vikram” had a “hard landing” when it lost contact with the ground station during ISRO’s historic attempt to soft land on the lunar surface of moon, NASA said today, adding that a team of scientists at the US agency has not been able to locate it.
In a press statement after detecting the targeted landing surface NASA had said, “The Chandrayaan-2 lander, Vikram, attempted a landing Sept. 7 (Sept. 6 in the United States), on a small patch of lunar highland smooth plains between Simpelius N and Manzinus C craters. Vikram had a hard landing and the precise location of the spacecraft in the lunar highlands has yet to be determined.”
Our @LRO_NASA mission imaged the targeted landing site of India’s Chandrayaan-2 lander, Vikram. The images were taken at dusk, and the team was not able to locate the lander. More images will be taken in October during a flyby in favorable lighting. More: https://t.co/1bMVGRKslp pic.twitter.com/kqTp3GkwuM
— NASA (@NASA) September 26, 2019
The possibility of establishing contact with the Vikram lander had a deadline of September 21, because after that the region on the moon entered into a lunar night in which cold temperatures do not allow the instruments onboard to work properly.
ISRO had said the mission life of the Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover it carried will be one lunar day, which is equal to 14 Earth days starting September 7 with lifetime of around 14 days extending upto 21st September.
NASA’s LRO will next fly over the targeted landing site of Vikram lander again on October 14 when lighting conditions will be more favourable for clearer pictures, John Keller, Deputy Project Scientist Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Mission, Goddard Space Flight Centre, said.
The successful landing would have made India the fourth country after the erstwhile USSR, the US and China to achieve a soft-landing on the moon, also the first to launch a mission to the unexplored south pole of the Moon.
India’s historic attempt to soft land a rover on the moon had faced partial failure moments seconds before landing.
The latest launch would have brought India into the elite group of nations who have achieved the feat of a soft landing on the moon. The three nations who have made soft landings are United States, China and the former Soviet Union.