ISRO's chandrayaan 2 Update: On one hand, the chances of establishing contact again are not going down with time. But, on the other, there is a deadline for it.
Chandrayaan 2 News: The efforts of the Indian Space Research Organisation to restore the connection with the Vikram lander have not been successful after 3 days (ISRO) of its speculated hard landing on the lunar surface. The agency on September 7, while attempting to soft-land on the lunar surface, lost communication with the Vikram Lander module of the spacecraft. Meanwhile, the ISRO was successful in locating the Vikram lander on the Moon’s surface through the orbiter module of the spacecraft. This was done by taking a thermal image of the Vikram lander using the onboard cameras of the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter. While informing about the condition of the Vikram Lander, ISRO had informed that it is in one piece, but there is no surety whether its working or not.
Are there any hopes to restore communication with the Vikram Lander of Chandrayaan-2?
When it comes to re-establishing a connection with the lander the time elapsed since contact has no strings linked to the chances of re-communication with the lander. On one hand, the chances of establishing contact again are not going down with time. But, on the other, there is a deadline for it. The space agency has to succeed in the next 10 days, that is by September 21.
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Why the agency has to re-establish the connection to Vikram Lander by September 21?
If we take in account the fact that the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover were designed to function for only 1 Lunar day, it is quite evident as to why India’s Space agency ISRO will have to establish a communication to it before September 21. Also, the Moon will enter into a lunar night after that. A single Lunar day or night is equivalent to 14 full days on the Earth. Also, in the south polar region of the Moon which is already light deficit, the lunar night temperatures are very harsh and could drop to as low as -200-degree Celsius. The Instruments onboard the Vikram lander could face permanent damage as they were not designed to withstand that kind of low temperature. Hence, one can speculate that if ISRO does not establish a connection in the next two weeks, they will have to give up all hopes after that.
What are the methods and procedure being used by ISRO to establish Communication with Vikram Lander of Chandrayaan 2?
Remote objects can possibly communicate only through electromagnetic waves. In case of space communication, frequencies in the S-band known as the microwave and the L-band known as the radio waves of the electromagnetic spectrum are usually used. As of now, the agency is still clueless about the reason for the loss of communication.
Since the contact with the Vikram was lost while it was still in flight, experts are speculating power failure to be a probable reason. But the fact that the Vibrant lander would have hit the Lunar surface hard and at a speed far greater than needed for a safe landing, the amount of damage received is still an issue.
The lander module, ‘Vikram’ was designed to communicate with both the ground station and with the orbiter. An attempt is being made by the agency using both the ground station and the Orbiter to restore contact.
What are the possible factors that can cause hindrance in re-establishing the connection?
The lander had an antenna to transmit the signals. The most important factor is the current position of the antenna. It was supposed to be erect and free of any obstructions in order to deliver hassle-free communication. The current situation of the antenna matters because if it had been erect and free of obstruction it could have scanned a wide area to receive signals.
ISRO’s best chance to establish contact with the Vikram lander is its Orbiter. This Module of the Chandrayaan-2 can make many revolutions of the Moon every day while trying to send signals to the Vikram module every time it crosses over it.
The events of losing communication and then re-establish it with the space probes are not new. But things are far easier if the object is in orbit, or at least in a good working condition.