The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has found its moon lander Vikram on the lunar surface revealed an official on Sunday. While the organization still investigates what went wrong with the lander it can at least take solace that it now knows where it is.
No communication yet
"We've got the image of Vikram on the lunar surface from our orbiter. We are analyzing the data," ISRO Chairman K. Sivan told The Times of India. However, no communication has been yet possible with the lander.
India's Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, currently orbiting the Moon, took the pictures of the ill-fated Vikram lander. Meanwhile according to reports quoting ISRO Chairman K. Sivan, the space agency has also collected thermal images of the lander on the lunar surface.
On July 22, the Rs 978-crore Chandrayaan-2 was launched into space by India's heavy-lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III). It contained three crafts the Orbiter (eight payloads), 'Vikram' (four payloads) and 'Pragyan' (two payloads).
On September 2, Vikram separated from the orbiter as it headed to the moon. Early on September 7, Vikram apparently lost control while attempting to soft land on the moon and crash landed cutting all communication links.
A doomed mission?
There is still the possibility that with the right orientation the lander can generate power and recharge its batteries with solar panels. However, as time goes by, that possibility grows fainter.
There is also the fact that the impact shock will likely have caused damage to the lander. Had Vikram succeeded its landing, India would have become the fourth country, after the U.S.S.R., the U.S. and China, to achieve a soft-landing on the Moon and the first to launch a mission to the unexplored south pole.