Why Vikram lander isn’t getting signals? Chandrayaan 1 director has a theory
Chandrayaan 2: ISRO lost contact with the Vikram Lander, one of three components of the Chandrayaan-2, minutes before its touchdown on the lunar surface in the early hours on Saturday.Updated: Sep 09, 2019 12:06 IST
Indian Space Research Organization chief K Sivan announced on Sunday that the lander of Chandrayaan 2 has been found on the moon’s surface but no contact has been established with it yet. Sivan had said the orbiter has clicked a thermal image of the lander.
Mylswamy Annadurai, the director of India’s first moon mission Chandrayaan 1, believes that obstacles on the moon’s surface may be stopping the Vikram lander from receiving signals.
“We have located the lander, we now have to establish contact. The place, where the lander alighted is expected to be not conducive enough for it to soft-land. There may be some obstacles, which could have been stopping us from establishing the connection,” Annadurai told news agency ANI.
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Scientists at Isro had lost contact with the Chandrayaan 2 lander in the early hours of Saturday just minutes before it was supposed to make a “soft landing” on the lunar surface.
A thermal image of what appeared to be the lander, which also houses rover Pragyan, was taken by the onboard camera of the orbiter. The camera is of the highest resolution in any lunar mission so far. The orbiter is going around the moon at an altitude of 100 km.
“There is always a two-way communication between the orbiter and lander, but we can attempt to communicate through one way.” Annadurai said and added that communication will not be for more than 5-10 minutes.
Isro had said 90 to 95% of the objectives of the Chandrayaan 2 mission have been achieved and it would contribute to lunar science.
Establishing communication is a priority because without it, even if the lander and the rover are intact they won’t be able to transmit data back to the Earth. Isro has said it will try to establish contact with the lander for 14 days. Vikram lander has a life span of one lunar day or 14 earth days.
Contact with the lander was lost when it was just 2.1 km away from making history and land on the moon’s South Pole.
A soft-landing on the moon would have put India in an elite club of nations that comprises the US, erstwhile Soviet Union, and China. India would have been the first country to land on the South Pole though.
Chandrayaan-2 was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on July 22.