Chandrayaan 2: Vikram lander isn't broken, it lays tilted on Moon's surface
BusinessToday.In September 9, 2019
Chandrayaan-2's lander Vikram has been found on the Moon's surface and efforts are being made to re-establish communication with the module. Although the lander is intact, it is currently in a tilted position, ISRO officials stated on Monday.
"It had a hard-landing very close to the planned (touch-down) site as per the images sent by the on-board camera of the orbiter. The lander is there as a single piece, not broken into pieces. It's in a tilted position," an ISRO official associated with Chandrayaan 2 claimed on Monday.
The Indian Space Research Organisation had lost contact with lander Vikram on September 7 as it was 2.1 km above the lunar surface, trying to soft-land on the unexplored South Pole of the Moon. The module is carrying rover Pragyan and three scientific instruments, meant to study the soil composition, atmosphere, seismic activity and other aspects of the environment around the landing site.
Meanwhile, Chandrayaan-2's orbiter is in lunar orbit with its eight payloads. It will conduct remote-sensing observations for one year from a 100 km orbit above the Moon's surface. It was the orbiter that had spotted Vikram on the lunar surface on Sunday.
ISRO chief K Sivan had said on Saturday that the space agency would try to restore link with the lander Vikram for 14 days. The mission life of the lander and rover is one Lunar day, which is equal to 14 earth days.
"Unless and until everything is intact (lander), it's very difficult (to re-establish contact). Chances are less. Only if it had soft-landed, and if all systems are functional, then only communication can be restored. Things are bleak as of now," one ISRO official told PTI.
Another senior ISRO official told the news agency that the chances of restoring contact with Vikram lander are good, but there are limitations to it. The official said that generating power is not an issue for the lander, as it has "solar panels all around it" and it also has "internal batteries" which have not been used much.
"We have experience of recovering spacecraft (which had lost contact) in geostationary orbit. But here (in the case of Vikram), that kind of operational flexibility is not there. Already it's lying on the surface of the Moon, and we cannot reorient it. Vital thing is antennas will have to pointed towards the ground station or the orbiter. Such operation in extremely difficult. At the same time, chances are good and we will have to keep our fingers crossed," the official said.
(With PTI inputs)