from the putting-a-brave-face-on-it dept.
Time is running out for engineers from the Indian space program to establish contact with the troubled Chandrayaan-2 lunar lander.
[...] Communications were lost with the lander during this time and have not been re-established since.
Officials at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) were able to locate the lander on the moon last week, and they have been trying to re-establish communications with the hope of saving either the Vikram lander or the Pragyan rover inside it. There is a time window they need to consider, however. The lander and rover were both designed to last for one lunar day, which is the equivalent of 14 days here on Earth. With a week passed since the landing date, the ISRO engineers have only one more week to get in contact with the lander before it runs out of power.
[...] ISRO officials have not yet released the Chandrayaan-2 image of Vikram on the lunar surface or described the potential condition of the lander. But they have said that despite the lander's presumed failed moon landing, the craft has already demonstrated key technologies for future missions.
"The Vikram Lander followed the planned descent trajectory from its orbit of 35 km (22 miles) to just below 2 km above the surface," ISRO officials wrote in an update Saturday (Sept. 7). "All the systems and sensors of the Lander functioned excellently until this point and proved many new technologies such as variable thrust propulsion technology used in the Lander."
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.
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