Science

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Will Attempt To Spot Chandrayaan-2 Lander Vikram

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will try to find India’s Vikram lander when it is scheduled to fly over the landing site on the Moon sometime on Tuesday. Indian space agency ISRO has already claimed that they have spotted the Chandrayaan-2 lander Vikram. However, the space agency has declined to release images. The lander had lost connection during an attempt to land on earth’s natural satellite on September 7. Vikram must be dead by now as its instruments would have probably frozen during a cold lunar night. Had things gone according to plan, it would have explored the lunar surface for one lunar day. One lunar day is equivalent to 14 days on earth.

This is the second time when the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter of the US space agency is scheduled to fly over the crash landing site of the Vikram. It previously flew over the site on September 17, 10 days after the failed landing attempt and its high-resolution camera took some pictures of the south polar region of the Moon. But the lander was not clearly visible in the photos as they were taken at a time when there was dusk in that region of the Moon. The US space agency hinted that the lander could be hiding the shadows on the lunar surface. It had announced that lightning condition is expected to be better when the LRO would fly the site again on October 14. If the site remained dusk free, pictures taken by the LRO could throw some light on the condition of Vikram’s physical condition.

The high-resolution camera of the LRO has already captured images of Apollo landing sites. The pictures are clear enough to find out the footprints of astronauts left on the lunar surface more than 40 years earlier. It has also clicked photos of China’s Chang’e 3 and Chang’e 4 landers and located the crash site of the first Israeli spacecraft Beresheet earlier this year. Lori Glaze, head of NASA’s planetary science division, said that the LRO is capable of search Vikram.

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Jason Amato

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