Chandrayaan 2: How NASA antennas trying to make contact with Vikram Lander
New Delhi, Sep 12: As the idea of reviving of the Vikram lander is getting slimmer and fading considering Vikram has a life of one lunar day or 14 Earth day, not only Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), even National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) is also making attempts to elicit a response from lander Vikram that is lying motionless on the Moon.
Vikram lander goes silent on September 7?
The connection between the orbiter and Vikram lander snapped on the early hours of September 7, which is when ISRO had planned its soft-landing on the lunar surface. So, while ISRO has been trying to establish contact with the lander, NASA too has joined in.
Hello Vikram, you there?: How NASA antennas are trying to contact
A Times of India report says that NASA has also joined the effort to reconnect with Vikram Lander. NASA's Jet Propulsion laboratory has beamed a radio frequency to Vikram lander in order to establish contact. "NASA/JPL is trying to contact Vikram through its deep space network (DSN) as contractually agreed with ISRO," said a source to Times of India.
NASA's JPL has DSN ground stations in Goldstone, South California (US), Madrid (Spain) and Canberra (Australia). These stations are located 120 degrees apart and aim to establish contact with any satellite in deep space. Each site has a minimum of four antennae, from 25 metre to 70 metre in diameter. These antennae are capable of providing continuous radio communications with multiple satellites at the same time.
NASA to share before and after images of Vikram's landing site:
Not only this, the NASA will also share before and after images of the location where Chandrayaan 2's Vikram lander made a hard-landing. It should be noted that ISRO has so far not released any images of Vikram landing site. Besides Chandrayaan 2's own orbiter, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is also revolving around Moon. NASA's orbiter is scheduled to pass over the region on September 17.
With the help of the images of the site provided by the NASA, it could actually help ISRO with its analysis.
Despite the setback, the lunar mission counts as a success
India's bid to become only the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the Moon had suffered a setback in the wee hours of September 7. ISRO had abruptly lost contact with Chandrayaan 2's landing module when Vikram was just 2.1 km above the lunar surface.
However, on September 8, ISRO chairman K Sivan said that Vikram had been located on the lunar surface and that it must had been a hard-landing.
A day later, reports quoting an unnamed ISRO official said that the hard-landing was "very close to the planned (touch-down) site as per the images sent by the on-board camera of the orbiter"."The lander is there as a single piece, not broken into pieces. It is in a tilted position," the official associated with the mission claimed. The space agency has said that "all possible efforts are being made to establish communication" with the Vikram lander.
Why will the lander survive only 14 days?
It takes 14 Earth days for one Moon day. After September 21, Moon will enter the lunar night. In the southern polar region, the temperature could fall to as low as -200 degree Celsius during this period. The lander is not designed to withstand a temperature that low. During the lunar night period, instruments on board the lander could get damaged. So, even when the lunar 14-day long lunar night ends, the lander may not be operable.