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NASA Says Vikram Had Hard Landing On Moon, Releases Photos

The US space agency NASA has released the high-resolution photographs of the landing site of Vikram on the surface of Moon. The agency said that Vikram had a hard landing on the lunar surface September 7 in the wee hours. According to the agency, the Chandrayaan-2 lander attempted a soft landing just before it lost contact with ISRO in Bengaluru on small patch highland smooth plains between two craters called Simpelius N and Manzinus C. The photographs of the site were clicked by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) of NASA on September 17. The agency said LRO will again try to locate Vikram when it passes over the site in October. It is hopeful that the lightning will be favorable for LROC in its next visit. The LROC is a system of three cameras which is mounted on LRO. It is active since 2009.

The NASA said that pictures were clicked during LROC fly-around of the targeted landing site. It said that the exact location of the lander is yet to be determined, adding that it is possible that Vikram is hiding in the shadow. The images were taken when it was dusk on the lunar surface. The LROC team said that more images will be clicked during the next flyby and then only the scientists will be able to tell the exact status of Vikram.

The Vikram was slated to make a smooth landing on the lunar surface on September 7 at 1.55 AM. However, the lander lost contact with ISRO just 2.1 km above the surface. Following days of silence, NASA joined the efforts to establish a link with Vikram. It was the first attempt by the ISRO to land on Moon. Till date, 38 attempts have been made by several countries to make a soft landing on the lunar surface. However, only 20 attempts have been successful. A few months ago, Israel’s attempt crash-landed on Moon. Earlier on Thursday, ISRO chief K Sivan said the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter was doing well but there had been no communication from Vikram.