Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

India Still Trying to Contact its Lost Moon Lander

Pakistani astronaut hails India on Chandrayaan-2 mission Chandrayaan-2 orbiter locates Vikram, the lander; efforts on to establish contact, says ISRO
Elijah Vega | 10 September, 2019, 17:29

The Vikram lander was scheduled to touch down on September 7 at 1:53 AM, near the southern polar region of the Moon.

Vikram Lander was just 2.1 kilometres above the lunar surface when it lost contact with ISRO, throwing a pall of gloom over the Indian space agency, but Sunday's development has rekindled hopes.

Efforts to communicate with the lander, from both the ground and the orbiter, have been going on since Friday to no avail.

"After communication with the lander was lost, we made a decision to offer special prayers seeking Moon God's intervention to regain contact with the lander and it was held on Monday", V Kannan, temple manager told PTI. The battery of Vikram Lander, which is carrying the Pragyan Rover, has an expected life of 14 days, so ISRO has another 12 days to establish communication with the craft. The team of ISRO scientists is attempting to re-establish contact with the lander.

The prayers included "abishekam" (celestial bath), which was performed with several items, including honey and sandal paste and followed by a community feast (Annadhanam), a temple official said on Tuesday.

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Chandrayaan-2 was meant to be a multi-part mission, and a follow-up to India's first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1. "This was a unique mission which aimed at studying not just one area of the Moon but all the areas combining the exosphere, the surface as well as the sub-surface of the moon in a single mission", the statement read.

Isro hasn't formally commented on the state of the lander. The camera that imaged these pixels is the Orbiter High Resolution Camera (OHRC), which has the highest resolution of any cameras in orbit around the Moon today.

Talking to news agency PTI, the space agency official said that the "moon lander has not broken though its position is tilted".

Space experts said the lander may have come down faster than planned and crash-landed on the moon, in a setback for India's space programme that has captivated millions of countrymen. Scientists believe there could be water ice on the South Pole.

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