No trace of India’s Chandrayaan-2 Vikram lander: NASA
Washington, Oct 23: After Chandrayaan-2 lost communication with the Vikram lander just 1.2 miles (2 kilometres) above the lunar surface, NASA has now said that they have found no evidence the lander in the images captured during the latest flyby of its Moon orbiter.
The Vikram lander, which was a part of India's first attempt to land on the moon with the Chandrayaan 2 mission, appear to be incommunicado on the moon's surface after a failed 7 September crash landing.
"The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter imaged the area of the targeted Chandrayaan-2 Vikram landing site on October 14 but did not observe any evidence of the lander," Noah Edward Petro, the Project Scientist for the LRO mission, told PTI in an exclusive email interaction.
Petro said that the camera team carefully examined the images and employed the change detection technique -- using a ratio of an image from prior to the landing attempt to the one acquired on October 14.
This approach, he said, is used for finding new meteorite impacts on the Moon that also helped locate the recent Beresheet lander.
"It is possible that Vikram is located in a shadow or outside of the search area. Because of the low latitude, approximately 70 degrees south, the area is never completely free of shadows, John Keller, Deputy Project Scientist LRO Mission, told PTI.
Chandrayaan-2's 27-kg rover Pragyan, which translates to 'wisdom' in Sanskrit, a six-wheeled robotic vehicle.
The lander carried three scientific payloads to conduct surface and subsurface science experiments, while the rover carried two payloads to enhance our understanding of the lunar surface, according to ISRO.
(With PTI inputs)