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Tuesday 28 January 2020

Chandrayaan-2: Communication becoming more difficult

ISRO has been trying to reconnect with the lander of Chandrayaan-2 after it was located on the lunar surface by onboard cameras on Sunday

Bengaluru: Efforts to restore communication link with ‘Vikram’, the lander of Chandrayaan-2 has been continued by the Indian Space Research Organisation, but according to experts, the possibility of re-communication is becoming ‘less and less probable’ with time.

K Sivan, chairman of ISRO said on Saturday that efforts to re-establish link with the lander will be continued for 14 days. He reiterated that the space agency will continue its efforts to comunicate with lander Vikram, after it was located on the lunar surface by onboard cameras of the Chandrayaan-2 on Sunday.

On condition of anonymity, a senior official associated with the mission said, “Progressively… as time goes by… it’s difficult (to establish a communication link).” He further added that the “right orientation” can still make Vikram use solar panels to generate power and recharge batteries. “But it looks less and less probable, progressively.”

“Impact shock may have caused damage to the lander,” said another top ISRO official, who also mentioned that Vikram’s “hard-landing” on the surface of the moon has made the task of re-linking much difficult as the lander may not be in the “right orientation,” and may not have landed properly on its four legs.

Vikram was designed in a manner to execute soft landing on the lunar surface and to operate for one lunar day, which is about 14 earth days.

The ground stations had lost communication with the lander in the early hours of Saturday, minutes before its planned powered descent to the lunar surface.

Weighing 1,471-kg, the lander of Chandrayaan-2 is India’s first mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology. It is named after Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space program.

Pragyan, a 27-kg rover is housed inside the Chandrayaan-2. It is a six-wheeled robotic vehicle which gets its name from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘wisdom’.

The lander, to conduct science experiments on the surface and subsurface of the moon, carried three scientific payloads and the rover carried two payloads to enhance our comprehension of the moon’s surface, according to the space agency.

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