The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has found its moon lander Vikram on the lunar surface, said an official. This was hours after the communication link with the lander was lost minutes before its soft landing on the lunar surface.
"The lander seems to have hit the lunar surface and is in an upturned position," an official told media preferring anonymity.
He also said there is a possibility of the lander getting broken on impact.
The pictures were taken by India's Chandrayaan-2 orbiter that is orbiting the Moon.
The Orbiter camera is the highest resolution camera (0.3m) in any lunar mission so far, and shall provide high resolution images which will be immensely useful to the global scientific community, ISRO had said.
Meanwhile according to reports quoting ISRO Chairman K. Sivan, the space agency has the thermal images of the lander on the lunar surface.
He said communication link with the lander has not been established after it got snapped on Saturday while landing on the lunar surface.
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.
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 lunar's south polar region apparently lost control and crash landed there by losing communication links.
Twitterati hail ISRO as lander Vikram's location found
As the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that it has found its moon lander Vikram on the lunar surface on Sunday, the Twitterati wasting no time in sharing words of hope and support for the organisation.
"#Vikram lander spotted on the moon. Let's see what happens next.. important data coming ahead," wrote a user.
"It's a good news. Hope ISRO will succeed in establishing communication with Lander," wrote another user.
"The lander seems to have hit the lunar surface and is in an upturned position," an official told IANS preferring anonymity.
He also said there is a possibility of the lander having broken on impact.
@GauravVprince wrote: "Proud moment for #India as #Chandrayaan2 's #VikramLander has been found, said #ISRO chief K. Sivan."
On July 22, the Rs 978-crore Chandrayaan-2 was launched into space by India's heavy-lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III).
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, thereby losing all communication links.
90-95% of mission objectives achieved: ISRO
The Rs 978 crore Chandrayaan-2 -- Indias first moon landing mission -- has accomplished 90-95 per cent of the mission objectives even though the lander Vikram cannot be reached and its status is not known, said Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
In a statement, ISRO said: "The success criteria was defined for each and every phase of the mission and to date 90 to 95 per cent of the mission objectives have been accomplished and will continue to contribute to lunar science, notwithstanding the loss of communication with the Lander."
According to ISRO, the Vikram Lander followed the planned descent trajectory from its orbit of 35 km to just below 2 km above the surface.
"All the systems and sensors of the Lander functioned excellently until this point and proved many new technologies such as variable thrust propulsion technology used in the Lander," ISRO said.
The Indian space agency said the precise launch and mission management has ensured a long life of almost seven years for the Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter instead of the planned one year.
According to ISRO Chairman K.Sivan, the Orbiter has sufficient amount of fuel on-board for it to operate for seven years.
The ISRO said Chandrayaan-2 mission was a highly complex mission, which represented a significant technological leap compared to its previous missions.
The Chandrayaan-2 mission brought together an Orbiter, Lander and Rover to explore the unexplored south pole of the Moon.
India's first moon lander Vikram successfully separated from its mother spacecraft Chandrayaan-2 on Monday at 1.15 a.m., said Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Since the launch of Chandrayaan-2 on July 22, 2019, not only India but the whole world watched its progress from one phase to the next with great expectations and excitement.
"This was a unique mission which aimed at studying not just one area of the Moon but all the areas combining the exosphere, the surface as well as the sub-surface of the moon in a single mission," ISRO said.
"The Orbiter has already been placed in its intended orbit around the Moon and shall enrich our understanding of the Moon's evolution and mapping of the minerals and water molecules in the polar regions, using its eight state-of-the-art scientific instruments," the statement added.
The Orbiter camera is the highest resolution camera (0.3m) in any lunar mission so far and shall provide high-resolution images which will be immensely useful to the global scientific community, ISRO added.
However, the statement is silent on the reason for the deviation in the Vikram's plotted descent chart which may not have to do with snapping of the communication link.
Only a photograph of the Vikram on the moon will tell whether it crash-landed.