Chandrayaan-2: Pragyan rover intact on Moon's surface, says Chennai techie; ISRO to probe
New Delhi, Aug 01: Is the Chandrayaan-2 mission still alive? Mystery deepens as Chennai based space enthusiast Shanmuga Subramanian, who was credited by NASA late last year for spotting the debris of India's Chandrayaan-2 moon probe Vikram lander, has come up with his latest find.
Shanmuga claims to have possibly spotted the skeleton of the Vikram lander and also the Pragyan rover that might have rolled out onto the lunar surface.
In a series of tweets, Shanmuga Subramanian said: "Chandrayaan-2's Pragyan "ROVER" intact on Moon's surface and has rolled out few meters from the skeleton Vikram lander whose payloads got disintegrated due to rough landing. It seems the commands were sent to the lander blindly for days and there is a distinct possibility that the lander could have received commands and relayed it to the rover...but the lander was not able to communicate it back to the Earth."
Chandrayaan2's Pragyan "ROVER" intact on Moon's surface & has rolled out few metres from the skeleton Vikram lander whose payloads got disintegrated due to rough landing | More details in below tweets @isro #Chandrayaan2 #VikramLander #PragyanRover (1/4) pic.twitter.com/iKSHntsK1f— Shan (Shanmuga Subramanian) (@Ramanean) August 1, 2020
There is also the possibility of the rover rolling out of the lander when it impacted the moon's surface.
Menawhile, ISRO has confirmed receiving the communication from the techie and was analyzing the same.
ISRO chief K Sivan told TOI: "We've heheard nothing from Nasa so far on the matter. But yes, the person who had identified Vikram debris earlier has sent us an email about this. Our specialists are looking into the matter and we cannot say anything at this juncture."
Chandrayaan-2, aimed at landing a rover on unchartered Lunar South Pole, was launched on July 22, 2019 on board the country's most powerful geosynchronous launch vehicle.
The spacecraft was inserted into lunar orbit on August 20, 2019. The Chandrayaan-2 mission was India's first attempt to land on the lunar surface.
It had attempted a moon-landing on September 7th. However, the much-anticipated landing happened to end up in a crash landing, after ISRO lost contact with the Vikram lander, barely at an altitude of 2.1km from the lunar surface.
Its orbiter, which is still in the lunar orbit, has a mission life of seven years. ISRO officials had earlier said it would be used for the third lunar mission as well.