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2.1 km from moon’s surface, Vikram goes silent

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ISRO has lost contact with Chandrayaan 2’s lander Vikram and rover Pragyan housed inside it, a senior official associated with the moon mission said here on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, ground stations lost contact with the lander during its powered descent to the lunar surface minutes before the planned touch-down.

“Vikram lander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km. Subsequently, the communications from the lander to ground stations was lost,” ISRO chief K. Sivan said.

“The data is being analysed,” he added.

The senior official told PTI later: “There is no communication with the lander. It’s as good as lost. There is no hope. Very, very difficult to re-establish contact.”

The 1,471-kg lander of Chandrayaan 2 — the first Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology — is named Vikram after Dr. Vikram A. Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space programme.

The lander was designed to execute a soft-landing and to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 earth days.

The 27-kg Pragyan (which translates to ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit) is a six-wheeled robotic vehicle. It is designed to travel up to 500 metres from the landing spot and leverage solar energy for its functioning.

The lander carried three scientific payloads to conduct surface and subsurface science experiments, while the rover carried two payloads to enhance our understanding of the lunar surface, according to ISRO.

The mission life of the orbiter will be one year while that of the rover was to be one lunar day which is equal to 14 earth days.

Source: The Hindu

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