National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Friday said Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander, that lost connection with ISRO on September 7, had a hard-landing on the lunar surface.
“Vikram had a hard landing and the precise location of the spacecraft in the lunar highlands has yet to be determined. The scene was captured from a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Quickmap fly-around of the targeted landing site image width is about 150 kilometres across the centre. The site was located about 600 kilometres from the south pole in a relatively ancient terrain,” said the space agency.
“It was dusk when the landing area was imaged and thus large shadows covered much of the terrain; it is possible that the Vikram lander is hiding in a shadow. The lighting will be favourable when LRO passes over the site in October and once again attempts to locate and image the lander,” it added.
“LRO will next fly over the landing site on October 14 when lighting conditions will be more favourable,” John Keller, Deputy Project Scientist Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission, Goddard Space Flight Centre told news agency PTI.
“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,” the space organisation tweeted on Friday.
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
ISRO’s giant frozen screens at the Bengaluru headquarters were proof that the Vikram lander did not have a soft-landing, as was expected, because of a failure to control the speed in its ‘final breaking phase’.
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”.
NASA, on September 8, boosted up the morale of ISRO and commended it for its efforts, adding that “space is hard” it looks forward to future opportunities to explore the solar system with ISRO.
“We commend ISRO’s attempt to land their Chandrayaan-2 mission on the Moon’s South Pole. You have inspired us with your journey and look forward to future opportunities to explore our solar system together,” NASA tweeted.
The US space agency also assured the Indian space agency of its full support to find the lander.
“The Space Agency assure their full support to the ISRO following the loss of contact with their spacecraft, Chandrayaan-2 which had to land on the moon. India proved to be a strategic player in the space sector and a partner in its development & achievements,” it had said.
Meanwhile, ISRO, not losing hope to find the lander, said it continued to make all possible efforts to establish link with it and added that the lander is now lying on the lunar surface after a hard-landing.
“It had a hard-landing very close to the planned (touch-down) site as per the images sent by the on-board camera of the orbiter. The lander is there as a single piece, not broken into pieces. It’s in a tilted position,” an ISRO official associated with the mission claimed three days after the mission collapsed.