The landing of Chandryaan-2 would have made India the fourth country in the world to successfully land a spacecraft intact on the moon after US, Russia and China but unfortunately after covering a distance of 3.844 lakh Km between the Earth and the Moon, Chandrayaan-2’s landing failed when it was at a distance of 2.1 Km from the surface of the Moon. The landing was supposed to be India’s first soft landing on the Moon with the country’s robotic ‘Vikram’ lander engineered to land on the surface of Moon carrying the “Pragyan” rover.
According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Chandrayaan-2 mission was a highly complex mission, which represented a significant technological leap compared to the previous missions of ISRO, which brought together an Orbiter, Lander and Rover to explore the unexplored south pole of the Moon.
The Vikram lander was a critical part of India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission. Vikram was carrying a rover called Pragyan, and together the two vehicles were meant to explore the south pole region in up-close detail using a series of instruments, including a seismometer to measure lunar quakes and X-rays to help figure out the composition of the dirt (and potential water ice).
But just a few minutes before Vikram was scheduled to touch down on the Moon, data of the lander from inside India’s mission control center showed the vehicle to be slightly off course. When Vikram was about 1.3 miles (2.1 kilometers) above the surface, India lost communication with the lander. India has yet to give official confirmation on whether or not the lander did, indeed, crash.
Did Vikram lander crash on to the Lunar Surface?
Reliable sources in ISRO agreed that there is a possibility that the Chandryaan-2 lander Vikram crashed on to the lunar surface resulting in the sudden snapping of the communication link with the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter. Sources in Isro said that Vikram deviated from its path at an altitude of 2.1 km from its designated landing spot on the Moon’s South Pole. After that, the lander reached 335 meters at a speed of 60 meters per second. It was at this place that Vikram lost contact with the Isro station in Bengaluru.
ISRO is now analyzing the data of Vikram’s flight to find out why it lost its way at an altitude of 2.1 Km. Scientists said they suspect that Vikram hit the Moon’s surface at the same speed with which it was coming down. Since the lander is intermittently connecting with the orbiter, Isro scientists are still hopeful that the lander will be able to establish communication.
ISRO revealed that they are going to try to re-establish communication with the lander for the next 14-days and will also try to get images of the lander with the help of a high definition camera installed in the orbiter.
However, it will take some time for the orbiter to enter the orbit in front of the lander, as the lander and orbiter were circling in different orbits. The only thing now on which the fate of the lander and rover depends is ‘hope’. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hopes high that the Vikram rover still might re-establish communication with the base.
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