ISRO tweets status update on Vikram lander that went into silent mode
New Delhi, Sep 10: The Indian Space Research Organisation, or Isro, is making all possible efforts to establish communication with Vikram lander that has been lying on the moon for three days now, the space agency tweeted on Tuesday.
“VikramLander has been located by the orbiter of #Chandrayaan2, but no communication with it yet,” the official Isro handle tweeted on Tuesday. It said the agency was making all possible efforts to establish communication with the lander.
In its first statement after moon mission suffered a huge setback on Saturday, the Indian Space Research Organisation described India’s Chandrayaan-2 as a highly-complex mission that represented a “significant technological leap”.
The space agency has 11 more days to keep trying. The mission life of the lander is 14 days that is equivalent to one lunar day. Vikram lander, named after the father of India’s space programme Vikram Sarabhai, was scheduled to soft-land on the lunar surface, past midnight on Friday.
The Vikram lLander had followed the planned descent trajectory from its orbit of 35 km to just below 2 km above the surface. By then, Chandrayaan-2 had covered 380,000 km.
But communication with the lander snapped just 2.1 km short of the lunar surface. It is believed that the lander may have travelled at a faster pace than planned and had a hard-landing. The last mile has always been considered the most tricky part of the mission. Isro chief K Sivan had described the final moments, when Vikram would touch down on the moon’s surface, as the most terrifying part of the mission.
Isro hasn’t formally commented on the state of the lander.
But news agency Press Trust of India had yesterday quoted a scientist at the space agency to say that the lander was in one piece but was lying in a tilted position. This angle, the scientist suggested, had made it difficult to re-establish contact with Vikram lander. Without any communication, even if the lander and the rover, Pragyan, are intact, they will not be able to transmit any scientific data back to Earth. Isro says the mission had already achieved 90-95% of its objectives and would contribute to lunar science.