The US space agency, NASA has recently claimed that no evidence of Chandrayaan-2 lander has been found in the latest pictures captured by NASA during the latest flyby of its moon orbiter of the lunar region where lander “Vikram” made a historic landing attempt on September 7.
It also claimed that lander may be hidden in shadows. While to make a soft landing on the lunar surface, the Chandrayaan-2 had lost contact with the ground station. Noah Edward Petro, the Project Scientist for the LRO mission told reporters, “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.”
India was hopeful to make history with the Rs. 1,000-crore Chandrayaan 2 mission. If India had successfully landed on the moon’s surface, it would have made India only the fourth country after the United States, Russia, and China to achieve the milestone.
It would have also made India the first country to complete the soft landing near the South Pole on its first attempt. Mr. Petro asserted that the camera team examined the images that were taken during the latest fly of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft and employed the change detection using a ratio of an image from prior to the landing attempt to the one acquired on October 14.
John Keller, Deputy Project Scientist LRO Mission said, “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.”
In September, NASA said that Chandrayaan 2 lander had a “hard landing” when it lost contact with the ground station. In a statement, NASA said, “The Chandrayaan-2 lander, Vikram, attempted a landing Sept. 7 (Sept. 6 in the United States), on a small patch of lunar highland smooth plains between Simpelius N and Manzinus C craters. Vikram had a hard landing and the precise location of the spacecraft in the lunar highlands has yet to be determined.”
A few pictures of the targeted landing site were also released by the US space agency, marking the craters. The pictures were captured by NASA’s moon orbiter during its flyby on September 17. Noah Petro told reporters, the LRO will next fly around the region on November 10 and will be another good opportunity with favorable lighting conditions for pictures.