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All Efforts On to Establish Link With Lander Vikram, Says ISRO as India Waits for News on Chandrayaan 2

The lander was making a 'soft' or controlled landing near the South Pole of the moon on Saturday when it lost contact with ground control in the final stage of the descent.

Reuters

Updated:September 10, 2019, 1:09 PM IST
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All Efforts On to Establish Link With Lander Vikram, Says ISRO as India Waits for News on Chandrayaan 2
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Bengaluru: India has located the spacecraft it was trying to land on the moon but has not been able to establish communication with it yet, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on Tuesday.

The lander was making a "soft" or controlled landing near the South Pole of the moon on Saturday when it lost contact with ground control in the final stage of the descent.

Space experts said the lander may have come down faster than planned and crash-landed on the moon, in a setback for India's space programme that has captivated millions of countrymen.

ISRO said the spacecraft Chandrayaan-2, which is orbiting the moon, had located the lander but it did not say whether it had been damaged. "All possible efforts are being made to establish communication with lander," the state-run space agency said on Twitter.

Chandrayaan2, India’s second mission to the Moon that had the ambitious goal of putting a lander on the lunar surface, is still able to take pictures of the lander through the orbiter after almost once every four hours.

Going by the tilt of the lander, scientists are yet to make out if there is any major damage on it. While it is designed to take some amount of shock, for example, if the lander had had a free-fall for some distance, it still is equipped to bear some amount of shock. Its ‘legs’ are fitted with 'shoes' that almost act like a helmet and its mechanical systems are supposed to be able to bear that shock.

The team has slim hopes but keeps telling itself that there is no harm in looking for signals every time the orbiter goes over the spot where the lander is located at present — if all mechanical systems are doing fine, there may still be some faint signals to work with.

Only the United States, Russia and China have made landings on the moon. Beijing's Chang'e-4 probe touched down on the far side this year. Scientists believe there could be water ice on the South Pole.

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