The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) officially confirmed on Tuesday that Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter, which is going around the moon at an altitude of about 100km from the surface, has located the Vikram lander.
Scientists lost communication with the lander on September 7 at about 1.53 am, just 2.1km off the moon’s surface as it was descending for a soft landing.
“Vikram lander has been located by the orbiter of Chandrayaan-2, but no communication with it yet. All possible efforts are being made to establish communication with lander,” Isro said in a statement on Monday.
The space agency said last week it would try to re-establish communication with Vikram for 14 days, which is the mission life of the lander. It said the mission has achieved 90-95% of its objectives and would contribute to lunar science.
HT reported on Sunday that the lander was spotted very close to the landing site it chose autonomously. It was found in an inverted position and seemed to be intact from the thermal images, a scientist from the space agency said on condition of anonymity.
The scientists needed to reconfirm that it was indeed the Vikram lander that was visible.
“The orbiter might have found something, but locating something so small from a distance of 100km is not easy. It could be a boulder, a relief feature. To make an announcement, Isro has to double- and triple-check the data,” the scientist had said.
The thermal image showed the lander was located very close to the chosen landing site, another scientist said on condition of anonymity, adding that it was intact and in an inverted position.
Without communication to the lander, Isro will not be able to receive any data from the experiments that were to be done by the lander or the Pragyan rover, which can communicate to Earth only via the lander.
The third part of the mission, the orbiter, is expected to remain in a lunar orbit for about seven-and-a-half years collecting information on the lunar terrain.
Sep 11, 2019 01:11 IST