Chandrayaan-2 may be hiding in shadows, says NASA after capturing landing site
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Friday released high-resolution images of the lunar region where Chandrayaan-2 lander, Vikram had attempted a soft landing earlier this month.
The images were taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, however, owing to dusk the lander could not be located.
“Our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter 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 favourable lighting,” NASA said on Twitter.
The US space agency also issued a statement saying it is possible that the Vikram lander is hiding in a shadow.
“The scene above was captured from a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Quickmap fly-around of the targeted landing site image width is about 150 kilometres across the centre…so far the LROC team has not been able to locate or image the lander. It was dusk when the landing area was imaged and thus large shadows covered much of the terrain; it is possible that the Vikram lander is hiding in a shadow,” the statement said.
The US space agency also stated that another attempt to locate lander will be made in October when the lighting is favourable.
“The lighting will be favourable when LRO passes over the site in October and once again attempts to locate and image the lander”, it added.
Earlier this month, the Chandryaan-2 orbiter had also clicked a thermal image of Vikram Lander.
The Lander Vikram was scheduled to make a soft-landing near the south pole of the moon on September 7. However, minutes before its scheduled soft-landing, the communication with Vikram Lander was lost.
The Vikram Lander had successfully separated from Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter on September 2. After revolving around the Earth’s orbit for nearly 23 days, the craft had begun its journey to the moon on August 14.
The mission took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on July 22. (ANI)