Chandrayaan 2 Vikram Update: India Admits Crash, Blames Thrusters.

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After Months of Silence, India Finally Acknowledges the Chandrayaan 2 Vikram Lander Crashed into the Lunar Surface.

India, it seems, is finally ready to admit what many of us have suspected all along. The Vikram Lander did indeed crash on the moon. Jitendra Singh, the minister of state for the Department of Space, wrote a response to the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of Parliament regarding questions about the ill-fated lander. In the statement, he released details about the craft’s presumed location. Additionally, he offered information about what went wrong and admitted that the craft made a “hard landing” (also known as a crash).

This is how it was supposed to go:

Radio Silence about Vikram

The crash occurred back in September. However, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has been withholding details about the craft’s location. They announced that the orbiter found Vikram. Beyond that, however, all they said officially was that they lost communication with Vikram during the second phase of descent. Adding to the mystery, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) failed to find even the smallest evidence of Vikram’s location after two flybys of the intended landing site. 

According to Singh’s statement, “During the second phase of descent, the reduction in velocity was more than the designed value.” He continued, “Due to this deviation, the initial conditions at the start of the fine braking phase were beyond the designed parameters. As a result, Vikram hard landed within 500 m of the designated landing site.” 

Problems with Vikram’s Thrusters

Singh’s report is the first official acknowledgment of the crash. The report details that thrusters designed to slow the craft during the second phase of descent fired outside of designed parameters. This caused the lander to impact the lunar surface at over 140 meters per second. At that speed, even Singh admits that the impact was likely “beyond [Vikram’s] survivability.” 

Sing’s statement claims the craft landed within 500 meters of the designated site. However, the ISRO has yet to release any images to back that up, and NASA won’t be back by until next month. So for now, we’ll have to take the ISRO’s word for it.

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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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