Chandrayaan 2 Vikram Lander Still Lost in the Shadows of the Moon

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ISRO Claims It Has Pics, but Won’t Release. Now NASA’s LRO Craft Can’t See the Chandrayaan 2 Vikram Lander Clearly. The Fate of the Mission, It Seems, Is in the Dark.

Earlier this month, India attempted to succeed where Israel failed a few weeks before. Both nations were hoping to become the fourth nation in history to successfully land a spacecraft on the surface of the moon. Neither succeeded, but India’s failure was slightly less spectacular. I mean, at least the ISRO’s Chandrayaan 2 Vikram Lander wasn’t carrying thousands of frozen tardigrades when it crashed. Israel’s was. So when the tardigrades rise up, colonize the Moon, and embargo it from us, we know where to place the blame.

So What Happened With Vikram?

Here, watch this short video from the immediate aftermath, then we’ll talk some more:

Again, despite the flashy YouTube-friendly title of this video, India has only claimed to have found the lander. They have yet to provide any proof (that I could find, anyway).

 What we do know, is that the craft was going pretty fast when ISRO officials lost contact with it 2km above the surface. What is still unclear, even if you take the ISRO’s word for it that the craft looked to be in one piece, is how much damage was caused by the fall, and whether or not it will ever communicate with Earth or fulfill its mission. Of course, whether or not the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) wants to discuss the location of its lander is completely their prerogative. On the other hand, the rest of the world was watching, and we wanna know what happened, damn it! 

NASA Gets Involved

In fact, NASA wanted to know so badly it sent the LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) around to look for the Chandrayaan 2 Vikram Lander. Unfortunately, NASA officials announced that during last week’s flyby, the lander was obscured in shadow. Based on the data they had, NASA said they couldn’t positively identify the lander. 

In a statement, NASA said, “LRO flew over the area of the Vikram landing site on Sept. 17 when local lunar time was near dusk; large shadows covered much of the area.” The statement went on to say, “The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) acquired images around the targeted landing site, but the exact location of the lander was not known so the lander may not be in the camera field of view.”

So we wait. The next chance the LRO will have to see Vikram will be on October 14th. Hopefully, then we’ll get a better idea of what went wrong.

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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1 Response

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  2. When Bezos makes his push with his lander, it’s going to be quite an event…

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