Chandrayaan 2 consists of a lunar orbiter, the Vikram lander, and the Pragyan lunar rover. The craft reached the Moon’s orbit on 20 August 2019. Vikram and the rover were scheduled to land on the near side of the Moon on 6 September 2019 and conduct scientific experiments for one lunar day, which approximates 14 days of Earth.
Unfortunately, on 7 September, the lander deviated from its intended trajectory starting at 2.1 kilometres and had lost communication minutes before the planned touchdown on the moon. On September 8, ISRO said the lander was spotted on the lunar surface by camera on-board of the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter.
“Progressively, you can imagine that it becomes that much more difficult, with each passing hour, the available power on the battery gets drained out, and there won’t be anything left for it to power and operate,” an ISRO official told PTI.
“With every passing minute, the situation becomes worse only… less and less probable to establish contact with Vikram”, he said.
“It looks more and more remote only,” the official said when asked if there was a modest chance of re-establishing the link.
A team at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network here has been eagerly trying to restore the link with the lander.
“With the right orientation, it can still generate power and recharge batteries with solar panels. But it looks less and less probable, progressively,” the official said.
Another top ISRO official said “hard-landing” of Vikram on the Lunar surface has made the task of linking again with it that much more difficult as it may not have the “right orientation (to receive signals)”.
“Impact shock may have caused damage to the lander,” he claimed. The lander carried three scientific payloads to conduct surface and subsurface science experiments, while the rover carried two payloads to intensify our conception of the lunar surface, according to ISRO.