National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has, so far, failed to capture Indian Moon mission Chandrayaan-2's Vikram Lander due to 'long shadows' over the landing site. The cameras of NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has sent back the pictures of Chandrayaan-2's intended Moon landing site but could not spot the Vikram lander.
"It was near dusk as the region prepares to transition from a two-week lunar day to an equally long lunar night, so shadows covered much of the region, and Vikram may not be in the LROC's field of view," Aviation Week Network quoted NASA as saying.
This is not a good news for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as only two more days left are left to re-establish the connection with Vikram lander, which is going to last only for 14 days.
On September 7, ISRO’s ambitions to touch down the south pole of the Moon faced a snap after the space agency lost contact from Chnadrayaan-2's Vikram lander moments before landing on lunar surface. As soon as the fine braking phase started, the Vikram lander suddenly deviated from its path and stopped sending data back to the ground control.
Speaking about the development, ISRO Chief K Sivan said that Vikram lander descent went as planned and normal performance was observed upto altitude of 2.1 kilometres when it stopped sending the data. "Subsequently communications from lander to ground station was lost. The data is being analysed," Sivan added.
Launched on July 22, Chandrayaan-2 entered the Moon's orbit on 20 August, a month after take-off. The touchdown of Vikram lander was scheduled between 1:30 am and 2:30 am, followed by the rollout of its rover named ‘Pragyaan’ between 5:30 am and 6.30 am.
Chandrayaan-2 was the most complex mission ever attempted by the India's space agency. Had the landing gone as planned, India would have become the first country to the land a mission on the south pole of the Moon and fourth after US, Russia and China to touchdown the lunar surface.