Finding Vikram, the Lander: September 17 (Tuesday) is going to be a big day in Isro's efforts to track and establish contact with Vikram The Lander, that went incommunicado just 335 meters away from its landing site on Moon's the South Pole on September 7. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will fly over the Vikram lander's landing site on Tuesday, September 17.
The LRO is a NASA robotic spacecraft currently orbiting the moon in an eccentric polar mapping orbit. LRO data is essential for planning NASA's future human and robotic moon mission. LRO was launched way back in 2009 and since then has got extension with more features. LRO observations have enabled numerous groundbreaking discoveries, creating a new picture of the moon as a dynamic and complex body. These developments have set up a scientific framework through which to challenge and improve our understanding of processes throughout the solar system.
New information is expected to come to light as NASA probe takes pictures of Vikram landing site and the lander itself.
“NASA will share any before and after flyover imagery of the area around the targeted Chandrayaan-2 Vikram lander landing site to support analysis by the Indian Space Research Organisation,” spaceflightnow.com quoted Noah Petro, the LRO’s project scientist.
Meanwhile, ISRO has also been trying to establish communication with the lander that lost contact just 300 meters from its original landing site on Moon.
NASA has been working closely with ISRO to help the Indian Space agency in re-establishing communication with Vikram lander. NASA has Deep Space Network centers in Madrid (Spain), Goldstone (California, US) and Canberra (Australia). The three Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is sending radio signals to Vikram Lander to help ISRO establish communication.
On September 7, Vikram - the Lander, while on its descent to soft land on the Moon's south polar region, apparently lost control and crash-landed there, snapping the communication links. On July 22, Chandrayaan-2 was launched into space by India's heavy-lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III).
The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft comprised three segments -- the Orbiter (weighing 2,379 kg, eight payloads), 'Vikram' (1,471 kg, four payloads) and 'Pragyan' (27 kg, two payloads). After five earth-bound orbit raising activities, Chandrayaan-2 was inserted into the lunar orbit. On September 2, Vikram separated from the orbiter.
NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) is sending radio signals to Vikram lander in a bid to re-establish communication.
Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the scientists at ISRO have been getting support from the Prime Minister's Office. PM Modi was also at the Isro centre in Bengaluru on September 7.
Also Read: Chandrayaan 2 Complete Coverage