No, This Viral Photo on Twitter isn't Vikram Lander. It's Of Apollo 16 Landing Site
The images passed off as "Vikram land rover found" are actually of Apollo 16's landing site.
Image credits: Twitter.
In the early hours of September 7, Chandrayaan-2, India's second mission to the moon lost communication with the lander at 2.1 kms away from the moon's surface.
While this was a disappointment, ISRO Chairman K Sivan announced on Sunday that Chandrayaan-2's Vikram module had been located on the lunar surface and it must have been a hard-landing, in an admission that the planned soft-landing wasn't successful.
The image of the lander rover 'Pragyan' is housed inside and it was captured by on-board camera of Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which is healthy, safe and functioning normally in the intended orbit around the Moon.
Vikram lander module of Chandrayaan-2 had lost communication with ground stations in the early hours of Saturday, when it was just 2.1 km from the lunar surface during its final descent. ISRO chairman K Sivan said the lander had been located on the lunar surface, adding that "it must have been a hard landing."
However, after news of the rover being spotted by Chandrayaan-2's orbiter broke, Indians started seeing a ray of hope, that communication could be re-established.
With their reassuring wishes, however, several pictures of the "Vikram lander spotted" started trending on Twitter. The images were also were misattributed to "being released ISRO Chief K.Sivan."
Lander Vikram Located on Moon Surface pic.twitter.com/rG1r1hRMRB
— Balraj (@BALRAJVETRI) September 8, 2019
#VikramLanderFound Lander Vikram Located on Moon Surface, trying for communication. pic.twitter.com/IiYpoljqbr — Rajbongshi (@onlydimbe) September 8, 2019
— ADITYA TOTAD🇮🇳🇮🇳 (@AdityaTotad) September 8, 2019
Is this is a vikram lander.#VikramLanderFound pic.twitter.com/pZWRCHkuM2 — Gagan Chaudhary (@ItsGaganKumar) September 8, 2019
— ᴀʏᴜꜱʜ ʀᴀɪ (@Izzuz_) September 8, 2019
These images, however, are fake, as pointed out by space journalist, Jonathan O’Callaghan.
So much misinformation being shared about the #VikramLander at the moment. For one, this image being shared is not a picture of the lander. It is the Apollo 15 lunar landing site. pic.twitter.com/S6XYiDKafr — Jonathan O’Callaghan (@Astro_Jonny) September 8, 2019
Oops, this is Apollo 16 not Apollo 15. That's embarrassing. #iamfakenews
— Jonathan O’Callaghan (@Astro_Jonny) September 9, 2019
A quick Google reverse search of the image also leads you to the 'Apollo 16 landing site.' (The distance between the Apollo 1 landing site, the Apollo 16 landing site is just 276 metres apart.)
While the image may be fake, a senior ISRO scientist told TOI that a thermal image may be possible in three days, as "an orbiter takes three days to come to the same point."
At the same time, ISRO is continuing its efforts to restore link with Chandrayaan-2's lander 'Vikram', but experts say time is running out and possibility of re-establishing communication looks "less and less probable."
A senior official associated with the mission said "Progressively... as time goes by... it's difficult(to establish link)" However, with "right orientation" it can still generate power and recharge batteries with solar panels, he added.
Editor's note: An earlier version of the story mentions Apollo 15 in the headline, instead of Apollo 16. We regret the error and have now corrected it.
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