Chandrayaan 2: NASA attempting to make contact with India’s moon lander Vikram​

NASA trying to make contact with Vikram lander. Photo courtesy: ISRO
NASA trying to make contact with Vikram lander. Photo courtesy: ISRO

Not just the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), but also the American space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) is reportedly attempting to establish contact with India’s moon lander Vikram. According to reports, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is sending radio signals to Vikram in an attempt to get it to communicate.

Scott Tilley, an amateur astronomer who found American weather satellite IMAGE in 2018 that was considered to be lost, tweeted on September 10: "#DSN 24 beams 12KW of RF at the #Moon in hopes of stimulating #Chandrayaan2's lander #VikramLander into communicating with home.”

Meanwhile, the ISRO is trying to establish a link with Vikram using its Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu near Bengaluru.

ISRO lost contact with Chandrayaan 2 moon lander Vikram in the early hours of September 7, just as it was about to soft land on the lunar surface.

According to reports, ISRO is running out of time to re-establish contact with Vikram. The lander was allotted 14 days to do its job, during which its rover Pragyan was to conduct a series of experiments on the lunar surface. After this period of 14 days expires, the solar panels of the lander will no longer energise as they will not have any exposure to the Sun’s rays and therefore it will be too cold for Vikram to operate. 

Vikram's three payloads – RAMBHA, ChaSTE and ILSA – were scheduled to carry out a series of experiments including determining seismic activity, monitoring temperature, and measuring the temporal evolution of lunar plasma density, none of which are likely to have happened with the lander having made a hard landing and lying in a tilted position on the moon’s surface since then.