NASA’s satellite orbiting the moon failed to detect India’s moon lander Vikram on the site where it was supposed to touchdown earlier this month, said US space agency. NASA added that the shadow of the Moon landscape is covering the lander. The lighting is expected to be favorable in October when NASA’s LRO will fly over the region again.
Our @LRO_NASA mission imaged the targeted landing site of India’s Chandrayaan-2 lander, Vikram. The images were taken at dusk, and the team was not able to locate the lander. More images will be taken in October during a flyby in favorable lighting. More: https://t.co/1bMVGRKslp pic.twitter.com/kqTp3GkwuM
— NASA (@NASA) September 26, 2019
The announcement was made Thursday after NASA released high-resolution photograph taken on September 17th by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter of the plains located about 370 miles from the Moon’s the South Pole, which is where it was aimed to land.
— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) September 27, 2019
“So far the… team has not been able to locate or image the lander,” NASA said.
“It was dusk when the landing area was imaged and thus large shadows covered much of the terrain; the Vikram lander may be hiding in a shadow,” the space agency added, saying the LRO will pass over the site again in October.
The lander called Vikram — after the founder of India’s space programme — was due to touch down on the Moon.
The NASA’s latest revelations negated India’s space mission assertions of locating the failed Vikram Lander, which they made a few days after India’s attempt to land its unmanned spacecraft on the moon.
India lost contact with its unmanned spacecraft before it was due to land on the Moon earlier this month, in a blow to country’s ambitious low-cost lunar programme. Indian has hoped to become just the fourth country after the United States, Russia, and China to successfully land on the moon.
The initial parts of the descent went smoothly. However, less than two miles above the surface, the trajectory diverted from the planned path. The control room fell silent, as communication from the lander was lost.
In the following days, Indian space scientists desperately tried to establish communication with their broken Moon lander, having located the probe that went silent moments before it was due to make a historic soft landing.
“#VikramLander has been located by the orbiter of #Chandrayaan2, but no communication with it yet. All possible efforts are being made to establish communication with lander,” the space agency tweeted.
The lander called Vikram — after the founder of India’s space program — was due to touch down on the Moon. The Press Trust of India had reported that the lander was not broken but lying tilted on the lunar surface.