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Monday 27 January 2020

NASA nearly confirms Vikram crash-landed

The US space agency says while the image of Vikram could not be captured due to some haze in the moon region at the time of taking the photographs, there are tell-tale signs of a hard landing in between two craters

NASA has released some high-resolution images of Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram landing. Based on the photos, NASA says that Chandrayaan-2 lander Vikram had had a hard landing on the lunar surface.

NASA’s high-resolution image has been captured through its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Camera. Lander Vikram’s hard landing took place on the moon’s hitherto untouched surface on which ISRO’s ambitious lander was supposed to touch the ground.

NASA confirms Vikram Lander’s hard landing

Image 1: This image of the Vikram landing site was taken on 17 September with a NASA orbiter camera

The Vikram Lander module attempted to land on a flat surface, but it could not be pulled off as planned. On 7 September, Lander’s connection with ISRO ended completely. According to a statement released by NASA, it is clear Vikram’s hard landing occurred on the lunar surface. It is not yet certain at which location it landed. The photos have been taken from a distance of 150 km from the planned spot.

Doubt about the location: On 7 September, Vikram was supposed to land on the lunar surface. This was India’s first attempt at a soft landing on the moon. According to the US space agency, the LRO covered the landing site on 17 September and high-resolution photos were taken from there.

So far, the LROC team could not ascertain the exact location of the image and the lander.

On 19 September, it was reported that NASA was trying to get and analyse images of the spot where Vikram is estimated to have landed. The first set of such images is out now.

Image 2: Vikram tried to land between Simpelius N and Manzinus C Craters

Crash-landing on the red spot: NASA has reported that Vikram made a landing between the craters Simpelius N and Manzinus C on the flat surface of the moon on 7 September. Unfortunately, the landing was not successful and the location of the spacecraft was not announced. Image 2 was taken from a camera mounted on NASA’s orbiter. This photo was taken from an altitude ​​150 km above the site.

Trying to get a picture of Vikram in October: The statement issued by NASA said that the LRO would once again attempt to approach the landing site. On 14 October, when the lighting conditions are favourable, another attempt will be made.

Image 3: An image of Vikram’s landing spot before it crash-landed

Lunar Resonance Orbiter Mission’s deputy project scientist John Keller said in an emailed response to a media query that the region of the moon at the time the pictures of the landing area were taken was hazy. It is possible Vikram is not seen in the images due to the spot being misty. Lighting will improve in October and NASA will try to take pictures of the lander again.

NASA has released the following picture that suggests Vikram had had a hard landing.

Image 4: Evidence of a hard landing by Vikram

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