CHANDRAYAAN 2: NASA Moon Orbiter Fails to Spot Vikram Lander, Report
'long shadows in the area may be obscuring the silent lunar explorer,' Carreau shared
Reportedly NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has failed to spot India's Chandrayaan-2 lunar lander near the South Polar Region. Lander which seemingly crashed during its attempt to make a soft landing on the moon on September 6, it lost contact with Earth.
As per Aviation Week's Mark Carreau report, the LRO's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera instrument (LROC) imaged the landing site of the lander that is the South Pole touchdown, as planned yesterday, i.e., September 17. But "long shadows in the area may be obscuring the silent lunar explorer," Carreau shared.
NASA further added the 17 September LRO flyover of the landing site at sunset was "leading to poor lighting and a challenging imaging environment."
"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," Carreau wrote, citing a NASA statement.
"Per NASA policy, all LRO data are publicly available. NASA will share any before and after flyover imagery of the area around the targeted Chandrayaan 2 Vikram Lander landing site to support analysis by the Indian Space Research Organization," the LROC lead investigator Mark Robinson from Arizona State University, told in a statement.
Now, just three days remain till the two-week lunar night washed over the South Polar Region where the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover currently are. While their condition continues to evade ISRO, there will be little hope for the ground-based missions of Chandrayaan 2 to resume after the cold lunar night comes to an end on 5 October 2019.