New Delhi: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) experts on Sunday ascertained that re-establishing communication with Chandrayaan-2’s lander Vikram looks “less and less probable.”
While efforts are on to restore the lost link, the ISRO scientists noted that they have less time at hand. Earlier in the day, after Chandrayaan-2’s onboard cameras located lander Vikram on the lunar surface, ISRO Chairman K Sivan reiterated that those efforts would continue. On Saturday, he had assured that the Indian space agency will try to establish a link with the lander in a matter of 14 days.
Meanwhile, a senior official associated with the moon mission was quoted as saying, “Progressively… as time goes by… it’s difficult(to establish link).” He added that with the ‘right orientation’, the lander can still generate power and recharge batteries with solar panels. “But it looks less and less probable, progressively,” the official added.
“The contact has been lost because Vikram would have hit the moon’s surface hard at high speed and tumbled over rather than landing softly on its four legs as intended,” noted former Space Commission member Roddam Narasimha. The official further said, “Impact shock may have caused damage to the lander”.
On September 2, the Vikram lander successfully separated from the Orbiter to reach the lunar surface. However, on September 7, the moon mission suffered a setback when the Vikram lander lost its communication with the ground stations, just 2.1 km above the lunar surface. Lander Vikram was designed to make a soft landing on the moon and to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 earth days. In the early hours of Saturday, lander Vikram lost contact with the ground stations during its powered descent to the Lunar surface minutes before the scheduled touch-down. A successful landing would have made India only the fourth country in the world to land a rover on the lunar surface.
Notably, India’s ambitious lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2 was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on July 22.