The US space agency NASA has put out detailed images showcasing the lunar craters where Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander might have landed. The images were shared last week on Friday and taken from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which passed over the landing site on September 17 and took a set of high resolution images of the area. These images hold clues as to where India’s lander might on the lunar surface.
The NASA website also added that so far LROC team has not been able to locate or image the lander. Further, the images were taken when it was dusk at the landing area and there are large shadows covering most of the terrains. According to NASA’s statement, it is possible that the Vikram lander is hiding in a shadow.
The next attempt to find the lander will take place in October, when according to NASA, the lighting will be more favourable. The LRO will pass over this site once again on October 14 to be precise. The site where NASA’s LRO looked for Vikram lander was about 600 kilometres from the south pole of the Moon, and in a relatively ancient terrain,” according to NASA.
NASA had said it was likely that Vikram lander had a hard landing. According to the images shared by NASA, which give out the detailed location of the lunar surface, the Vikram lander probably attempted a landing between the small patch of lunar highland, between the Simpelius N and Manzinus C craters.
ISRO’s Vikram lander was supposed to have a soft-landing, which is a controlled-landing on the lunar surface on September 7. However, communication was lost at around 2.1km from the lander, and after that the agency has not been able to re-establish contact the lander. Meanwhile, the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is still orbiting around the moon as part of the mission.
Meanwhile, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Sivan had said that the orbiter is doing very well. He added that ISRO’sInext priority will be the Gaganyaan mission, which is India’s first manned mission by 2020. The Gaganyaan spacecraft is designed to carry three people into Earth’s orbit and then bring them back to the surface. The mission will be seven days long.