The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Friday, September 27, released pictures of the lunar site where Chandrayaan 2 lander Vikram had attempted to soft-land. The US space agency said it could not find the location of the lander.
Images taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) showed that Vikram attempted a landing on September 7 between Simpelius N and Manzinus C craters. "Vikram had a hard landing and the precise location of the spacecraft in the lunar highlands has yet to be determined," said NASA.
Our @LRO_NASA 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 favorable lighting. More: https://t.co/1bMVGRKslp pic.twitter.com/kqTp3GkwuM— NASA (@NASA) September 26, 2019
Describing the site, the US space agency stated that it is located about 600 kilometres from the south pole in a "relatively ancient terrain". The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) took the pictures when it passed over the landing site on September 17.
Despite the orbiter's high-resolution images, NASA stated that since it was dusk when the image was captured, large shadows prevented a clear image of the terrain, adding that "it was possible that the Vikram lander is hiding in a shadow."
Last week, NASA stated it was analysing the images and had cautioned about the large shadows on the lunar surface due to harsh light conditions.
"The lighting will be favourable when LRO passes over the site in October and once again attempts to locate and image the lander," the space agency stated.
The Chandryaan-2's lander Vikram lost the connection with ground stations just 2.1 km ahead of a soft landing on September 6. The lander carried a rover called Pragyan that was to have conducted experiments on the moon's surface. The experiments were supposed to take one lunar day, which is equal to 14 Earth days.