After NASA lost sight of India’s Vikram lander, the organization released images showing the site of its crash landing on the moon.
On Friday, NASA said Vikram suffered a “hard landing” in images that were captured by their reconnaissance orbiter.
The photos show marks on the moon’s surface where the Chandrayaan-2 lander tried to land during its mission three weeks ago.
“Vikram had a hard landing and the precise location of the spacecraft in the lunar highlands has yet to be determined,” NASA’s statement reads.
On Sept. 10, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said it had located Vikram but couldn’t establish communication with the module.
The ISRO hasn’t released images of its findings as of yet.
On Thursday, NASA tweeted out two images of where the hard landing took place, writing that “more images will be taken in October during a flyby in favorable lighting.”
The module was scheduled to land on Sept. 6 in the ISRO’s first attempt at a moon soft landing.
It was meant to land on a small patch of lunar highland smooth plains, but the craft lost communication with the ISRO on landing day.
According to the India Times, the deadline to make contact with the lander was Sept. 21, after which the region would enter a lunar night.
Instruments aboard the Vikram spacecraft weren’t meant to withstand temperatures in the region, which can drop as low as -200 C during the lunar night, the publication reports.
Had Vikram landed successfully, India would’ve become the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the moon, along with the USSR, the U.S. and China.
India was, however, the first to launch a mission to explore the south pole of the moon.
The Chandrayaan-2 is the second lunar exploration mission developed by the ISRO, and consisted of both the Vikram lander and the Pragyan lunar rover, which would have been deployed on the surface.
The crash landing is not being seen as a failure.
“The Vikram lander followed the planned descent trajectory from its orbit of 35 km (22 miles) to just below 2 km above the surface,” ISRO officials wrote in a Sept. 7 statement
“All the systems and sensors of the lander functioned excellently until this point and proved many new technologies such as variable thrust propulsion technology used in the lander.”
Sources: • Global News
Featured Image: © ISRO
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