Chandrayaan 2 lander Vikram was located by the orbiter on Sunday, after the connection between the lander and the orbiter snapped on the early hours of Saturday. However, the connection has not yet been established between the lander and the orbiter. The question remains whether the orbiter can establish connection with the lander Vikram.
As per Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) it will continue to try to establish contact with the lander till the period of 14 days gets over. Is it impossible? Not really, but it is really challenging, especially since a lot of the conditions including the position of the orbiter and lander's antennae, solar panels power, damage or impact and other factors must be ideal.
Where is lander Vikram?
An ISRO official has said that Vikram lander is lying in a tilted position on the Moon. It is, however, not broken and the agency is continuing to re-establish contact with it.
Lander Vikram was scheduled to land at a high plain between two craters - Manzinus C and Simpelius N, at a latitude of about 70 degree South. According to ISRO, the hard landing took place very close to the scheduled touchdown of Chandrayaan 2. "We are making all-out efforts to see whether communication can be re-established with the lander. An ISRO team is on the job at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network," said an official, according to PTI.
He said that although lander Vikram had made a hard-landing, the Chandrayaan 2 mission achieved 95 per cent of its objectives.
What is hard landing?
Hard landing, as opposed to soft landing, means that the lander landed with more speed than was intended. However, it was not hard enough to have crashed.
Why 14 days?
Perhaps the most crucial part in Chandrayaan 2 about the attempts to establish contact with Vikram lander is the period of 14 days. Fourteen days is equivalent to one lunar day. The 14 days cycle is when the South Pole part of the Moon gets sunlight. Lander Vikram has solar panels and is powered by the sun. Beyond this cycle, it will be too cold for the lander to survive.
The 14 days cycle already began on September 7.
What about the payloads and rover Pragyan?
While the payloads are tested for shock, it is hard to predict if they are operational. Moreover, the extent of shock also depends on how hard lander Vikram landed.