India's lander Chandrayaan-2, Vikram, has made a "hard landing" on the moon, but the exact location of the spaceship is still unknown, the US space agency NASA said.
Vikram was scheduled to land at the Moon South Pole on September 7, more than a month after launch. The descent of the lander was normal until it was 2.1 km (1.3 miles) from the lunar surface when it deviated from the planned path and communication with the lander was interrupted.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) – India's counterpart to NASA – I'm still trying to figure out why it lost contact to the lander.
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) crossed the landing strip on September 17 and took pictures of the area, but the team has not yet been able to locate or obtain a picture of the lander NASA said in a statement released on Thursday.
"It was dusk when the landing area was mapped and therefore large shadows covered much of the terrain, it is possible that the lander is hiding in a shadow," the statement said.
More pictures are expected to be taken in October.
Our mission @LRO_NASA depicts the targeted landing site of the Indian Chandrayaan 2 lander Vikram. The pictures were taken at dusk and the team could not find the lander. More pictures will be taken in October during a flyby with good lighting. More: https://t.co/1bMVGRKslp pic.twitter.com/kqTp3GkwuM
– NASA (@NASA) September 26, 2019
After Vikram lost contact, scientists only had By September time ISRO said the length of Vikram's mission is one lunar day, equivalent to 14 Earth days.
Despite harsh conditions At the landing, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said that a plan for a lunar mission would be drafted in the future.
"We are working on a detailed future plan," he said Thursday.
"A national committee has been formed to find out what went wrong with the lander, and once the committee has presented its report we will work on what to do in the future," he added.
Vikram intended to perform "detailed topographic studies, [and] comprehensive mineralogical analysis … such as the presence of water molecules on the moon".
This was the third attempt to land the spaceship the Moon this year.
In January China made a historic gentle landing on the "dark side" of the Moon in the area of the South Pole Aitken Basin. It was the first spaceship in history to reach this area. Since then Rover and Lander have been operating in this area.
Israel also sent a spaceship in April, but the landing was problematic and communication was lost when it was about 149 meters above the lunar surface. The attempt ended with a hard landing.