NASA unable to spot India’s lost moon lander

News, Space

A NASA orbiter circulating the moon was unable to find India’s lost lander in newly released photos around its targeted landing site.

The American space agency stepped in to help the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) find Vikram, part of India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission which was meant to make a soft landing on the moon earlier this month.

But it seems the lander made a hard landing, NASA said.

On September 8, the Press Trust of India reported that the ISRO had located the lander but is yet to see direct visual evidence of its position.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter scanned more than 92 miles of the area where Vikram was supposed to touch down, in hope of spotting the lander.

However, NASA admitted that it was dusk when it took the photos on September 17, meaning Vikram could be hiding in a shadow.

The orbiter is due to pass over the site again in October, when the space agency expects more favourable lighting might reveal Vikram’s resting place.

The Indian mission was an attempt to look at permanently shadowed moon craters for signs of water, following its Chandrayaan-1 launch in 2008.

Only the US, the former Soviet Union and China have successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon.

Chris Price
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