Though contact with the Vikram lander was lost, the orbiter going around the moon will carry out experiments over the next year.

Setback but not failure Chandrayaan-2 orbiter to continue collecting data from the moonFile Image/PTI
news Chandrayaan-2 Saturday, September 07, 2019 - 08:37

Despite not knowing more details of Chandrayaan 2’s moon lander Vikram, the mission is far from being tagged a ‘failure’. Chandrayaan 2’s orbiter continues to circle the moon and will study it for a period of one year, which is its mission life.

"Only 5 per cent of the mission - Vikram, the lander and Pragyan, the rover - has been lost. The remaining 95 per cent - that is the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter - is orbiting the moon successfully," an ISRO official, who did not want to be identified, told IANS. 

The orbiter will take pictures of the moon and probably even of the lander and transmit it to ISRO, which can be analysed by the scientists. However, the rover inside the moon lander, Pragyan, has a life span of only 14 days. 

Early on Saturday, minutes before the scheduled soft-landing of Vikram on the surface of the moon, the lander lost communication with the Earth. It is unclear if the lander actually crash-landed onto the moon surface or drifted away after it began its descent to the moon at 1.37 am. 

K Sivan, the Chairman of the ISRO, officially made the announcement of the loss of communication at 2.20 am. ISRO also said that the descent of the lander went as planned and was normal till the final 2.1 kilometres of its marked trajectory.

Chandrayaan-2 was launched into space on July 22 by India's heavy-lift launch vehicle, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III). The mission consisted of three segments - the Orbiter (weighing 2,379 kg, eight payloads), 'Vikram' (1,471 kg, four payloads) and rover 'Pragyan' (27 kg, two payloads).

After five earth-bound orbit raising activities, Chandrayaan-2 was inserted into lunar orbit. The lander Vikram carrying the rover Pragyan separated from Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft on September 2, in its journey towards the moon.

On Saturday, several people were eagerly waiting for the Vikram lander to land on the moon. However, even as the communication between the orbiter and lander was lost, ISRO’s scientists received support and appreciation for their attempts from the public, and remain hopeful to receive signal soon. 

(With inputs from IANS)

Also read: 'Nation with you': Support pours in as India waits for news on Chandrayaan 2's lander

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