New Delhi, September 17: In what could help the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to analyse what went wrong and right with the Chandrayaan 2 mission, a lunar orbiter of US-based National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will fly over the part of the Moon where the Vikram lander lies after having lost contact with the Indian space agency. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will fly over Vikram's landing site and take pictures. Chandrayaan 2 Shares First Picture of Moon: ISRO Tweets the Image Captured by Vikram Lander.
The pictures of Vikram lander may not be clear because of the fading sunlight on the Moon. It is unclear when the NASA orbiter will fly over the landing site. "NASA will share any before and after flyover imagery of the area around the targeted Chandrayaan-2 Vikram lander landing site to support analysis by the Indian Space Research Organisation," Noah Petro, LRO's project scientist, was quoted as saying. The LRO had succeeded in collecting data during Vikram lander's descent.
"As a matter of fact, during the descent of Chandrayaan-2, the LAMP instrument was observing the changes in the exosphere as a result of the rocket effluence coming down," Jay Jenkins, program executive for the Office of Exploration at NASA's Science Mission Directorate, was quoted as saying by Space.com. A few days ago, NASA had also tried communicating with lander Vikram.
It has already been 10 days since the Vikram lander went silent at a crucial juncture of the Chandrayaan 2 mission. ISRO now has only four days to establish communication with lander before the region becomes too cold for the lander to operate.
The heavy-lift rocket GSLV MkIII-M1, nicknamed 'Baahubali' successfully put Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft into Earth's orbit on July 22. The spacecraft was initially scheduled to be launched on July 15. However, the flight was postponed after a technical snag was detected an hour before the rocket lift-off. The issue was later rectified by the ISRO. Chandrayaan 2 entered Moon's orbit on August 2.