The Chandrayaan 2 lander had a “hard landing” when it lost contact with the ground station during a historic attempt to soft land on the lunar surface, NASA said today, adding that a team of scientists at the US space agency has not been able to locate it.
The module had attempted a soft landing on a small patch of lunar highland smooth plains between Simpelius N and Manzinus C craters before losing communication with ISRO on September 7. The site was about 600 km from the south pole in a relatively ancient terrain, according to the US space agency.
Isro had said the mission life of the Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover it carried will be one lunar day, which is equal to 14 Earth days.
The lunar nights can be very cold, especially in the south polar region where Vikram is lying. Temperatures could drop to as low as minus 200 degrees Celsius during the lunar night.
“It was dusk when the landing area was imaged and thus large shadows covered much of the terrain; it is possible that the Vikram lander is hiding in a shadow. The lighting will be favourable when LRO passes over the site in October and once again attempts to locate and image the lander,” Nasa said.