NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) will fly over the lunar south pole where lander Vikram is lying motionless and not responding to hello signals sent by the Deep Space Networks (DSN), reports said. The LROC will send photographs of the landing site and new information on Vikram lander on Tuesday, reports said. The LROC had spotted the IMAGE satellite which was launched by NASA in 2000 and lost contact after five years.
The LROC is equipped with three cameras that capture high-resolution photos of the lunar surface. For the past 10 years, the LROC is orbiting the Moon in an eccentric polar mapping orbit and collecting vast amounts of scientific data in support of NASA’s exploration goals. The robotic spacecraft was launched on June 18, 2009, as a precursor mission. The LROC acts like a scanner and sends high-quality photographs of the lunar surface to the ground stations. The photographs have helped NASA create 3D images of the lunar surface.
Earlier, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) had beamed radio frequency to Vikram lander. On the basis of an agreement signed between the NASA and the ISRO, US space agency had agreed to share before and after images of the location where the moon lander made a hard-landing. For the past few days, the NASA is trying to contact Vikram lander through its DSNs situated at Goldstone, near Barstow, California, Madrid, Spain; and near Canberra, Australia. Meanwhile, ISRO is also trying to establish the link with the lander with its Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu near Bengaluru.
It seems the attempts made by NASA and the ISRO is a race against time as the period of 14 days to establish contact with Vikram lander swiftly closes. The 14-day window started on September 7.
On September 9, ISRO scientist G Madhavan Nair had said that ISRO has spotted the Chandrayaan 2’s Vikram lander in one piece on the lunar surface. He said Vikram lander was found in a single piece but in a tilted position. He also said that it was not a soft landing and Vikram landed in a high speed on Moon’s surface. The scientists have been trying to establish the link with the Vikram lander and the rover Pragyan which placed inside it.
Referring to the thermal images sent by the on-board camera of the orbiter, Nair said it seems that Vikram lander had hard-landing. A team of scientists at ISROTelemetry and trying to Track and re-establish the Command Network.