Nellore: The disappointing end to an extraordinary feat of space science, research, development, engineering and technical excellence that was Chandrayaan seems to be the final emotion for this episode. No more hopes are left of establishing communications with the lander, Vikram, any more, an update of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said that a national-level committee, comprising academicians and Isro experts analysing the cause of communication loss with the lander, concludes.
The 14-days lifespan of the lander comes to end Saturday. Isro had lost contact with the Vikram lunar lander while making an audacious, and history-rewriting attempt, to become the first space agency in the world to land near the south pole of the moon during early hours of September 7, 2019.
Though the landing anomaly smashed the dream of India of becoming only the fourth country to successfully soft land a spacecraft on moon, the mission demonstrated the professional competence of team Isro. The team had successfully handled the orbital manoeuvres on the spacecraft and orbited it into an intended trajectory, separated the Vikram Lander from Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft without a hitch, and then ensured its descent as planned up to an altitude of 2.1 km.
However, subsequently communications from the lander to the ground station was lost. Though the high resolution camera (0.3 m) in the orbiter captured an image of lander Vikram with Rover Pragyaan in its belly lying on the surface of moon, it was not much of use because it remained incommunicable. The lander Vikram weighs nearly 1.5 tonnes and has the capacity to generate 650-watt power using its solar panels. It had three payloads, including the instrument for studying the lunar seismic activity.
Quakes on the moon are said to be caused by the gravitational pull of the earth. If successful Lander would have provided readings on the phenomena to offer insight into the subject to the scientists, Isro officials said.
Isro officials have been insisting that the mission cannot be called a failure, because the Orbiter, equipped with eight highly sophisticated gadgets, would collect valuable data. They claimed that a one-year lifespan of orbiter has been extended to seven years because of precise orbital maneuvers of the spacecraft till it was orbited into the intended trajectory and the separation of lander without any hassles.
In an update late Thursday evening, Isro did not mention Vikram lander, except that the expert committee was examining reasons for its communication failure.
As per the update, all payloads of orbiter were powered, their initial trails completed successfully and their performance was satisfactory. Orbiter continues to perform scheduled science experiments to complete satisfaction, the update added....