The lander module from India's moon mission was located on the lunar surface on Sunday, one day after it lost contact with the space station, and efforts are underway to try to establish contact with it, the head of the nation's space agency said.
The Press Trust of India news agency cited Indian Space and Research Organization chairman K. Sivan as saying cameras from the moon mission's orbiter had located the lander. "It must have been a hard landing," PTI quoted Sivan as saying.
[...] The space agency said it lost touch with the Vikram lunar lander on Saturday as it made its final approach to the moon's south pole to deploy a rover to search for signs of water.
A successful landing would have made India just the fourth country to land a vessel on the lunar surface, and only the third to operate a robotic rover there.
The space agency said Saturday that the lander's descent was normal until 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the lunar surface.
Following a historic July 22 launch on a GSLV Mk-III rocket from the east coast of India, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft – the robotic lander and rover, specifically – attempted a soft landing on the surface of the Moon on Friday. All was proceeding to plan until just 2km above the surface when telemetry was lost and the vehicle will have likely crashed into the lunar surface.
[...] The Vikram lander was aiming to softly touch down about 350 kilometers (218 miles) away from the South Pole-Aitken Basin rim on Friday evening. However, with all proceeding to plan, including the braking phase of the mission ahead of final descent, telemetry was lost.
[...] Although no explanation was provided, it is clear the mission has failed.
NASA (USA's National Aeronautics and Space Administration) reports that India's Vikram Lander has been Found:
The Chandrayaan 2 Vikram lander was targeted for a highland smooth plain about 600 kilometers from the south pole; unfortunately the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost contact with their lander shortly before the scheduled touchdown (Sept. 7 in India, Sept. 6 in the United States). Despite the loss, getting that close to the surface was an amazing achievement. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team released the first mosaic (acquired Sept. 17) of the site on Sept. 26 and many people have downloaded the mosaic to search for signs of Vikram. Shanmuga Subramanian contacted the LRO project with a positive identification of debris. After receiving this tip, the LROC team confirmed the identification by comparing before and after images. When the images for the first mosaic were acquired the impact point was poorly illuminated and thus not easily identifiable. Two subsequent image sequences were acquired on Oct. 14 and 15, and Nov. 11. The LROC team scoured the surrounding area in these new mosaics and found the impact site (70.8810°S, 22.7840°E, 834 m elevation) and associated debris field. The November mosaic had the best pixel scale (0.7 meter) and lighting conditions (72° incidence angle).
The debris first located by Shanmuga is about 750 meters northwest of the main crash site and was a single bright pixel identification in that first mosaic (1.3 meter pixels, 84° incidence angle). The November mosaic shows best the impact crater, ray and extensive debris field. The three largest pieces of debris are each about 2x2 pixels and cast a one pixel shadow.
See the NASA article for before/after pictures of the impact site.
NASA Lunar Probe Will Help Search for India's Lost Moon Lander
Time is Running Out for India to Establish Contact With its Lunar Lander
India Locates Lander Lost on Final Approach to Moon
Chandrayaan-2: India's Vikram Lander Presumed to Have Crashed
Chandrayaan-2 Updates: Lunar Orbit Insertion and Lunar Orbit Maneuver
Chandrayaan-2 Launch: How to Watch First Mission to the Moon's South Pole Mon 20190722 @ 0913 UTC
Scrubbed Chandrayaan 2 Mission to Moon's South Pole to Launch on Mon July 22 0913 UTC
India's Lunar Spacecraft Launches Sunday on First-Ever Mission to Moon's South Pole
India to Launch Combined Orbiter/Lander/Rover Mission
India's Chandrayaan-2 Moon Mission Planned for 2018