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Reducing Orbit of Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter to Pick Up Any Weak Signals is a Dangerous Move

What is ISRO going to gain by this move is not known

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Orbit, Chandrayaan 2, Weak Signals
"Reducing the orbit of the Orbiter is a dangerous idea," a former space agency official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IANS. Pixabay

Reducing the orbit of Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter to pick up any weak signals or to take a closer look the moon lander Vikram that had crash-landed on the lunar surface is a dangerous move, contend space scientists.

According to sources, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is looking at reducing Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter’s orbit from 100 km to 50 km above the lunar surface.

“Reducing the orbit of the Orbiter is a dangerous idea,” a former space agency official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IANS.

“What is ISRO going to gain by this move is not known. Even if the Orbiter is able to pick up weak signals, in all probability, it will not be able to revive Vikram.

Orbit, Chandrayaan 2, Weak Signals
Reducing the orbit of Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter to pick up any weak signals or to take a closer look the moon lander Vikram that had crash-landed on the lunar surface is a dangerous move. Pixabay

“At or above 100 km altitude, the Orbiter is safe. But if it is brought down to 50 km, then it has to be maintained there which requires firing of the on-board engines. If that is not done, the Orbiter will slowly go down,” he added.

Firing of Orbiter’s on-board engines will expend fuel and thereby reducing its life, he said.

“To bring down the Orbiter, ISRO has to fire its motors. Then to maintain that at 50 km height, fuel has to be expended. If ISRO decides to take it up to 100 km altitude, then further fuel has to be expended,” the expert remarked.

According to him, what is on hand is the precious Orbiter which should not be risked at this stage.

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“The lander Vikram has gone. Period,” he added.

On September 8, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said it has found Vikram on the lunar surface.

“The lander seems to have hit the lunar surface and is in an upturned position,” an official told IANS preferring anonymity.

On July 22, the Rs 978-crore Chandrayaan-2 was launched into the space by India’s heavy lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III) in a text book style.

Orbit, Chandrayaan 2, Weak Signals
According to sources, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is looking at reducing Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter’s orbit from 100 km to 50 km above the lunar surface. Pixabay

The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft comprised three segments — the Orbiter (weighing 2,379 kg, eight payloads), ‘Vikram’ (1,471 kg, four payloads) and ‘Pragyan’ (27 kg, two payloads).

After five earth-bound orbit raising activities, Chandrayaan-2 was inserted into the lunar orbit. On September 2, Vikram separated from the orbiter.

Early on September 7, Vikram, while on its descent to soft land on the moon’s south polar region, apparently lost control and crash-landed there, snapping the communication links.

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Meanwhile, ISRO officials said that any update on Chandrayaan-2 mission, including the status of the moon lander Vikram that crash landed on the lunar surface on Saturday, will be announced on the organisation’s website. (IANS)

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Vikram Lander Spotted On Moon

The Vikram moonlander was sent by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) aboard the Chandraayan 2 that orbited the moon

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India’s Vikram lunar lander
India’s Vikram lunar lander, which crashed on its final approach to the Moon’s surface in September, has been found. Pixabay

BY ARUL LOUIS 

Shanmuga Subramanian, the eagle-eyed citizen space scientist who found Vikram moonlander said on Tuesday that he took spotting it as a challenge when NASA couldn’t.

He said in an email interview to IANS: “It was something challenging as even NASA can’t find out so why can’t we try out? And that’s the thought that led me to search for Vikram lander.”

Subramanian, who works as an information technology architect, in his spare time looked through the images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) camera on September 17 and spotted a debris from Vikram.

Those images were taken when the light during moon’s dusk was very harsh at the place where the moonlander crashed and the long shadows made the hunt for Vikram difficult, NASA and LRO said at that time.

LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro, to whom Subramanian emailed his finding, told IANS: “The story of this really amazing individual (who) found it, helped us find it, is really awesome.”

The Vikram moonlander was sent by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) aboard the Chandraayan 2 that orbited the moon.

Vikram was launched from Chandrayaan on September 6 in hopes of making a safelanding and exploring the moon’s surface. However, it lost contact with ISRO minutes before the scheduled landing and crashed.

Vikram Moon Lander
A Moon landing is the arrival of a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. Pixabay

Petro said: “This is the wonderful thing about our data. We released it for the world and anyone can use and he used it to make this discovery.”

Subramanian suggested a crowd-sourced citizen scientist movement to help space organisations.

“LRO’s data is a treasure trove. I would suggest students and others to help out NASA, ISRO and other space organisations by building a good database of LRO images with features like comparison etc.,” Subramanian told IANS.

“Currently we have to compare it manually (and I) wish someone can do more on that, with NASA’s scientists time crunched for their Moon missions,” he added.

Asked how he got interested, Subramanian said: “Space exploration is nothing new for me as I have been interested in space right from the scratch and watched ISRO’s rocket launches closely even managed to capture some of it on my YouTube channel.

“I don’t think Vikram lander would have made a such impact on the minds of the Indian public if it had landed successfully (but) since it was lost there was a lot of discussion in public forums as well as on my Facebook regarding what malfunctioned etc.

“The crash landing of Vikram made more people interested in it and it also got eventually hooked me, which lead to me searching NASA’s pic for nearly some 4-5 hours every night.”

Subramanian spoke of the social media world of space enthusiasts where intense discussions were taking place about the mystery of Vikram and which helped his quest.

“Initially there was lot of false positives I got (that were) corrected by Twitterati and one of the tweets led to me a Reddit forum where they had the exact intended landing location and the path of Vikram,” he said.

Vikram on moon
The Moon is an astronomical body that orbits the Earth as its only permanent natural satellite. Pixabay

On being able to narrow down the area for his search, he said: “Though there was no data available about the path of Vikram lander, I eventually concluded it would have come from North Pole as one of the tweets from ‘cgbassa’ said Vikram has crossed the North Pole of the moon. And from ISRO’s live images, I made out it would have stopped short of around 1 km from the landing spot so it eventually led to me searching around 2 sq km around the landing area.”

That tweet was from CG Bassa, an astronomer with Astron, the Dutch radio astronomy institute.

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After better pictures came from the LRO’s pass over the area in October and on November 11, when the light conditions improved, the LRO camera team scoured the area surrounding the spot where Subramanian had spotted a debris and found the impact spot of Vikram’s crash and other debris, the ASU said.

The impact site is located at 70.8810AoS, 22.7840AoE, at an elevation of 834 metres, it added. (IANS)

One response to “Vikram Lander Spotted On Moon”

  1. Before the launch of the Chandrayana 2 mission, I read that the lunar orbiter has the best moon orbiting camera. Form the very beginning of the moon landing failure, I was wondering, why there are no images received from the ISRO lunar module orbiting. All we learned over next many days was about the images taken by NASA orbitor. Just now, statement of ISRO says, ISRO orbitor has located and photographed the failed lander. But most of the news feeds show the photograph of ISRO chief K. Sivan, and not of lunar surface where the lander is found ! Is this science reporting standard of ISRO ?