More than a month after ISRO successfully launched India's second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, lander Vikram was expected to achieve a soft landing on September 7, 2019, at 1:55 a.m.
However, after completing a rough breaking, ISRO lost communication with the lander when itwas 2.1 km away from the lunar surface.
Lander Vikram had completed the de-orbiting manoeuvres and the rough breaking. It was only when the final descent that it slightly changed its path, leading to loss of communication.
Naturally, losing contact with lander Vikram sets back one aspect of the mission – mapping the location of lunar water. However, Chandrayaan-2 continues to orbit the moon, and the mission remains partially intact.
The original purpose of the Chandrayaan 2
The original purpose of the mission was to reach nearest to moon's south pole, map the location and abundance of lunar water, and continue the analysis of the circling orbiter.
Because of loss of communication with lander Vikram, ISRO will be unable to perform in-situ measurements, and thus attain data about a 'completely unexplored section of the Moon'.
However, as the 2,379-kg orbiter that launched the lander and rover is still circling the moon, ISRO will be able to 'conduct remote-sensing observations from a 100 km orbit'.
Currently, the team at ISRO will analyze the data to understand the accurate location of lander Vikram and understand the reasons for the loss in communication.
Additionally, the circling orbiter has a mission life of one year.
This means that ISRO can use the orbiter to understand the final position of lander Vikram, collect more photos of the moon, and continue its original purpose of remote-sensing.
Chandrayaan-2 that included a lunar orbiter, lander Vikram, and rover Pragyan was a ₹978 crore mission.
The total cost was less than Avengers: Endgame, which cost ₹2,443 crore.
More importantly, despite the setback, with this mission, ISRO has brought India one step closer to unravelling the mysteries of space.
And for that, we will always be proud of ISRO and its team of talented scientists and technicians.