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Moon lander Vikram may not spring back to life, say space experts

Moon-probing: This screen grab taken from a live webcast by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on August 6, 2019, shows the Vikram lander before it was supposed to land on the moon.

Moon-probing: This screen grab taken from a live webcast by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on August 6, 2019, shows the Vikram lander before it was supposed to land on the moon.  

They believe that the moon lander may have crash-landed on the lunar surface and the impact shock may have damaged the module beyond repair

Experts said on Sunday that time was running out for the moon lander Vikram and the possibility of re-establishing communication with it looked “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 the “right orientation”, it can still generate power and recharge batteries with solar panels, he said.

“But it looks less and less probable, progressively,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Watch | Chandrayaan's Vikram lander: what we know so far

Not on all fours

Another top ISRO official said the “hard-landing” of Vikram on the lunar surface had made the task of linking again with it that much difficult as it might not have the “right orientation” and would not have landed on its four legs.

“Impact shock may have damaged the lander,” he said.

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.

The location of the Vikram module “proves beyond doubt” that the orbiter is functioning well, space expert Ajay Lele said. “The orbiter is the main element of the mission as it will work for more than a year,” he said.

He said that with the orbiter working fine, 90-95 per cent of the mission objective had been achieved.

Former ISRO scientist S Nambi Narayanan said the chances of re-establishing communication looked bleak as the lander may have crash-landed.

NASA salute

“Space is hard. We commend ISRO’s attempt to land their Chandrayaan2 mission on the Moon’s South Pole,” NASA said in a tweet. “You have inspired us with your journey and look forward to future opportunities to explore our solar system together,” it said.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 1:56:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/moon-lander-vikram-may-not-spring-back-to-life-say-space-experts/article29369042.ece

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