ISRO Chief K Sivan has said that Chandrayaan 2’s Vikram lander has been located on the lunar surface. The news comes a day after the lander lost contact with the space station.
K Sivan, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, said that the cameras from Chandrayaan 2’s orbiter have located the Vikram lander. He said that all efforts are underway to re-establish contact, adding “it must have been a hard landing”.
The orbiter that captured the images is fitted with a fine Orbiter High Resolution Camera of 30-cm resolution. The orbiter also has a Terrain Mapping Camera-2 among its eight payloads.
The space agency had promulgated on Saturday that it has lost contact with the lander, minutes before the landing on the moon’s south pole region. ISRO revealed that the lander’s descent was normal until 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) from the lunar surface.
If the landing was successful, India would have become the fourth country to soft land a vessel on the moon. The other three countries are the United States, Russia and China.
The $140m moon mission aimed to study permanently shadowed craters on the moon that are believed to have contained water. Chandrayaan 2 launched from the Satish Dhawan space centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh on July 22. The spacecraft entered the lunar orbit on August 20, following which the Vikram lander separated from the orbiter and initiated the landing. The lander was supposed to land about 70° south of the lunar equator and about 600 km from the lunar south pole.
Specialists believe that the possibility of re-establishing contact will become less probable as time goes by.