NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft on September 17 snapped a series of images of Vikram’s attempted landing site near the Moon’s uncharted South Pole during its flyby, according to a media report that quoted a project scientist of the US space agency.
It was near lunar dusk when the orbiter passed over, meaning large parts of the area were in shadow, the report said.
The LRO’s deputy project scientist, John Keller shared a NASA statement confirming that the orbiter’s camera captured the images.
“The LROC team will analyse these new images and compare them to previous images to see if the lander is visible (it may be in shadow or outside the imaged area),” Mr Keller was quoted as saying in the statement by cnet.com.
NASA is analyzing, validating and reviewing the images clicked by its lunar orbiter of the area on the Moon where India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission made an unsuccessful attempt to soft land its Vikram module. In the early hours of September 7, Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) plan to soft land Chandrayaan-2 Vikram module on the lunar surface did not go as planned.
The lander lost communication with ground stations during its final descent. ISRO officials said the orbiter of Chandrayaan-2 — second lunar mission — remains healthy and safe.
According to ISRO, the lander Vikram and Rover Pragyan were supposed to be functional only for 14 dyas of their touchdown. Therefore, if connection is not established in the next two days, ISRO may have to give up the hope to establish a connection with the lander.
A NASA spokesperson had earlier said that the space agency will share any before and after flyover imagery of the area around the targeted Chandrayaan-2 Vikram Lander landing site to support analysis by ISRO.