US Space Agency NASA today said its satellite orbiting the Moon has found Chandrayaan 2’s Vikram Lander on the lunar surface. The lander had lost contact shortly before the scheduled attempt to soft land on the moon on September 7.
NASA posted images clicked by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that shows the site of impact and the associated debris field.
In a statement, NASA said the “debris first located by Shanmuga Shanmuga about 750 meters northwest of the main crash site and was a single bright pixel identification in that first mosaic.”
— NASA (@NASA) December 2, 2019
“Shanmuga Subramanian contacted the LRO project with a positive identification of debris. After receiving this tip, the LROC team confirmed the identification by comparing before and after images. When the images for the first mosaic were acquired the impact point was poorly illuminated and thus not easily identifiable. Two subsequent image sequences were acquired on Oct. 14 and 15, and Nov. 11. The LROC team scoured the surrounding area in these new mosaics and found the impact site and associated debris field,” the statement added.
The US space agency also posted a before and after image that highlights changes to the surface and the impact point.
Days after the attempt to land on the lunar surface, ISRO had confirmed that they had lost all communications with the orbiter the. Laster, NASA had said the Chandrayaan 2 lander had a “hard landing” and had released pictures of the targeted landing site.
Lunar lander Vikram, one of three components of the Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft stopped transmitting 2.1 km from the surface ahead of it’s soft landing on the south polar region of the moon in an historic 1,000-crore mission.
Vikram and lunar rover Pragyan, which is housed inside the lander, were scheduled to operate for one lunar day (equal to 14 Earth days) and carry out a series of surface and sub-surface experiments.
The lunar orbiter, which is in orbit around the moon, is expected to be operational for seven years and help in the understanding of the moon’s evolution, mapping of its minerals and water molecules in polar regions.
Chandrayaan 2 was launched on July 22 from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, on the back of a GSLV Mark III rocket – ISRO’s largest and most powerful. The mission was originally scheduled to launch on July 15 but that was aborted, with less than an hour remaining, after a technical glitch was discovered.