Chandrayaan 2: Vikram Lander was scheduled to touch down on September 7. This was India's first attempt at a soft landing on the Moon.
Chandrayaan 2 Viram Lander: America’s space agency NASA released high-resolution images of the lunar south pole region where ISRO’s Chandrayaan 2 attempted soft-landing. The images, released on Friday, were captured by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) during its flyby over the region where Vikram lander is believed to have descended and revealed that it indeed had a hard landing. During the early hours of September 7, ISRO’s Vikram Lander module started its landing process to soft-land on Lunar South Pole region. Its planned landing site was on a lunar highland’s smooth plain between two Lunar craters called Simpelius N and Manzinus C but minutes before its landing, the Vikram lander module lost communication with ISRO’s orbiter and ground station.
According to NASA, images captured by LROC reveal that Vikram had a hard landing. NASA is yet to determine the exact location of the Vikram Lander module in the lunar highlands.
The images ware captured from a NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Quickmap fly-around of the targeted landing site. The image captured a region with a width of about 150 kilometres across the centre.
The LRO passed over the landing site on September 17 and acquired a set of high-resolution images of the area; so far the LROC team has not been able to locate or image the lander.
“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 PTI via email.
“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,” NASA said.
Vikram was scheduled to touch down on September 7. This was India’s first attempt at a soft landing on the Moon. The site was located about 600 kilometres from the south pole in a relatively ancient terrain, according to the US space agency.