Bengaluru: The status of the Chandrayaan-2 lander remains the same, two days after ISRO Chairman K. Sivan announced that the orbiter had imaged the lander on the lunar surface.
There is rampant online speculation about the condition of the lander — how it landed, its angle of tilt, whether it’s in one piece, and how far it is from its intended landing spot.
No official clarification has been issued on any of these speculation.
— ISRO (@isro) September 10, 2019
A landing gone awry
The Vikram lander was scheduled to touch down on September 7 at 1:53 AM, near the southern polar region of the Moon.
However, 2.1 kilometres above the surface, just moments before the scheduled touchdown, the lander went silent and ISRO lost communication with it.
It was, subsequently, imaged by the orbiter of the same mission as it passed overhead. The camera that imaged these pixels is the Orbiter High Resolution Camera (OHRC), which has the highest resolution of any cameras in orbit around the Moon today.
Efforts to communicate with the lander, from both the ground and the orbiter, have been going on since Friday to no avail.
Recent ISRO statement
The chairman also released a statement Friday, saying 90 to 95% of mission objectives have already been met. The statement was met with much criticism due to a lack of transparency on the calculation of these percentages.
The mission also consisted of a rover that was housed inside the lander. The rover would not be functional until communication with the lander is re-established.
Eight important payloads in the orbiter
The eight important scientific payloads on the orbiter are more sophisticated than the ones that went on the first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1. There are two cameras for imaging, two payloads that would study x-rays from the sun and the lunar regolith, two that would study the thin lunar exosphere using radio signals, one that would study water ice and one that would study the thickness of lunar soil.
The Vikram lander has a lifespan of 14 days till September 20, beyond which it would no longer be in sunlight and thus have no power.