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‘Hiding in a shadow’: NASA confirms Vikram’s hard landing, tweets pics

The Indian orbiter part of the Chandrayaan 2 mission was able to capture images of the lander a day after the attempted soft-landing went awry. The photographs show that the Vikram landed “very close to the chosen site” and was in an “inverted position”.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2019 11:33 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
NASA eleased high-resolution images captured by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) during its flyby of the lunar region where Vikram lander attempted a soft landing.
NASA eleased high-resolution images captured by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) during its flyby of the lunar region where Vikram lander attempted a soft landing.(Photo: Twitter/@NASA)
         

The US space agency NASA has been unable to locate or image Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander that lost contact with the ground station during its final descent, just 2.1 km above the lunar surface. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter had flown over the highlands between the craters Simpelius N and Manzinus C - about 600 km from the south pole - where Vikram was to soft-land on September 7.

NASA had expected its high-resolution cameras to spot the lander. But it was dusk by the time NASA’s Orbiter imaged the landing area and large shadows covered much of the terrain.

“It is possible that the Vikram lander is hiding in a shadow,” NASA said in a statement, releasing high-resolution images of the landing spot on its website and Twitter. To let people visualize the site, it also lets people take what it described as a quick fly-around here.

Watch: NASA shares Chandrayaan 2 landing site images, says Vikram had hard landing 

The NASA orbiter will be able to see the lander better during its next flyover on October 14, which is closer to lunar mid-day at the landing site.

A lunar day is equivalent to about 14 days on the Earth.

The Indian orbiter part of the Chandrayaan 2 mission was able to capture images of the lander a day after the attempted soft-landing went awry. The photographs show that the Vikram landed “very close to the chosen site” and was in an “inverted position” according to officials, HT got in touch with.

The chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation Dr K Sivan has also been quoted as saying that it was a “hard landing”. However, none of this has been officially announced by the Indian space agency.

The NASA statement on Friday confirms it was a hard-landing. “Vikram has a hard landing and the precise location of the spacecraft in the lunar highlands has yet to be determined,” the ISRO statement said. An image captured by the camera on-board the LRO was also released.

A soft-landing of the lander would have put India in an elite group of four nations along with the US, erstwhile Soviet Union, and China to have successfully landed on the lunar surface. It would have made Chandrayaan-2 the first mission to land near the South Pole of the Moon; all other missions have been in a region between the equator and 30 to 40 degrees north and south of it.

First Published: Sep 27, 2019 10:23 IST

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