NASA’s lunar orbiter races against time to locate Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will try to locate Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander during a flyover of the landing site on Tuesday.Updated: Sep 16, 2019 21:49 IST
With just five days left before ISRO’s Vikram lander of the Chandrayaan 2 mission runs out of life on the moon’s South Pole, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will try to locate the lander during a flyover of the landing site on Tuesday in a race against time.
The lander lost contact with ISRO’s control centre during its descent into the lunar south pole on September 7.
Noah Petro, LRO’s project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said that the orbiter is due to fly over the Vikram landing site on Tuesday, according to spaceflight.com.
On September 8, the orbiter of the Chandrayaan-2 mission located the lander but it has not yet been able to establish a link. ISRO has not released any image of Vikram either although it said that the orbiter has taken a thermal image of the lander.
ISRO chief K Sivan had said that scientists would continue to try to establish link with Vikram which had a life of one lunar day or 14 earth days. The lander which is designed to run on solar power would go on sleep mode on September 21.
Sivan also said it appeared to be a hard-landing.
Another ISRO scientist said the lander was intact but in an inverted position.
ISRO launched Chandrayaan-2 with the Orbiter, Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover on July 22. The lander was scheduled to land on the Moon’s South Pole, a mission never attempted. It would have been the first mission in the world to land near the lunar South Pole to look for water and cold traps with history of the solar system.
The mission which was originally scheduled for July 15 was aborted about a hour before blast off following a after a technical snag in the launch vehicle systems after filling liquid hydrogen in the cryogenic upper stage of the rocket.
First Published: Sep 16, 2019 21:41 IST