Chandrayaan-2: ISRO may have lost lander, rover, says ISRO official

Updated: Sep 09, 2019, 11:27 IST | mid-day online correspondent

The lander was 2.1km away from the moon's surface minutes before the planned descent when it lost contact from the ground stations

Chandrayaan-2: ISRO may have lost lander, rover, says ISRO official
This picture has been used for representational purpose

Amidst a tense atmosphere, a senior official at ISRO associated with the unmanned moon mission informed on Saturday that ISRO may have lost Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander and rover Pragyan housed inside it. Earlier in the day, the lander lost contact to the ground stations during its powered descent to the Lunar surface minutes before the planned touch-down.

"Vikram lander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km. Subsequently, the communications from the lander to ground stations was lost," ISRO chief K Sivan had said. "The data is being analysed," he further added. A senior official closely associated with the mission later told PTI "There is no communication with the lander. It's as good as lost. There is no hope. Very, very difficult to re-establish contact".

The 1,471-kg lander of Chandrayaan-2 -- first Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology -- is said to have been named Vikram after the legendary scientist and physicist Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space programme.

Also Read: Chandrayaan 2 is indigenous mission, milestone: Ex-ISRO scientist

According to PTI, the lander was designed to execute a soft landing on the lunar surface, and to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 earth days. Pragyan, Chandrayaan-2's 27-kg rover is a six-wheeled robotic vehicle. It's developed with the potential to travel up to 500 metres from the landing spot on the Moon and leverage solar energy for its functioning. The lander is known to have carried three scientific payloads to conduct surface and subsurface science experiments, while the rover carried two payloads to enhance our understanding of the lunar surface, according to ISRO.

The mission life of the orbiter is said to be one year while that of the rover was to be one lunar day which is equal to 14 earth days.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation following the status of the mission, assuring the ISRO scientists that the best is yet to come. “Our determination to touch moon has become even stronger, we came very close but we need to cover more grounds,” he said in his address. He also took to Twitter to laud the space agency's accomplishment on the mission.

With inputs from PTI

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