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National News

Sep 08, 2019

Chandrayaan-2 orbiter locates Lander Vikram on surface of moon

In a significant development relating to the lunar mission Chandrayaan-2, the Lander Vikram has been located on the surface of the moon.

The Chairman of the national space agency ISRO, Dr K Sivan has said, a thermal image of the Lander has been captured by the Orbiter of Chandrayaan-2. However, in an interaction with the news agency ANI, he has clarified that there is no communication yet from the Lander, adding, efforts are on to restore contact with it.

The Lander lost its contact with the ISRO’s Mission Control Centre in Bengaluru in the wee hours yesterday, just minutes before its scheduled soft-landing. During its final leg of the crucial powered descent near the lunar South Pole, it went silent after reaching up to 2.1 kilometres above the surface.

A senior scientist of the ISRO told AIR News that the thermal image has been captured by the ‘Imaging Infra-Red Spectrometer’ that is fitted on the Orbiter. It was made by detecting the naturally occurring infrared waves from the Lander. The spectrometer is one of the eight scientific instruments that are onboard the Orbiter. The Orbiter is meticulously revolving around the moon and has eight important payloads on it including the Infra-Red device. 

Clarifying what is a thermal image, the senior scientist said, all kinds of materials naturally release infrared rays. The wavelength of the rays differs from one material to the other, just like thumb impressions. The rays cannot be seen by bare eyes but can be detected by Infra-Red Spectrometers. The spectrometer output can be used to reconstruct the shape of the body and to draw clues about the nature of the body.

AIR correspondent reports that in the Orbiter of Chandrayaan-2, the Imaging Infra-Red Spectrometer has been added, originally for the dual purpose of studying the nature of minerals on the moon and to confirm the presence of water. Now it has come to help zero in on the location of the Lander as well. It may be noted that the Orbiter that carries the spectrometer has been given an extended lease of life by the ISRO to seven years as against the intended life of one year. It has been made possible by the saving of its fuel by way of reaching a better than expected orbit on the day of its launch and the efficient mission management. The news of finding the location of the Chandrayaan-2’s Lander, using its sibling, the Orbiter, is trending in social media platforms, reflecting the renewed interest and hope.


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