27 September 2019
Chennai: The US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has said the precise location of India's moon lander Vikram on the lunar highlands is yet to be determined.
"Vikram had a hard landing and the precise location of the spacecraft in the lunar highlands has yet to be determined," NASA said in a statement issued on Thursday. It was dusk when the landing area was imaged, NASA will wait for favourable lighting in October in its next attempt to locate the lander.
The NASA statement is based on the pictures taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) of the area around where Vikram was targeted to land on the Moon.
According to NASA, Vikram, attempted a landing on a small patch of lunar highland smooth plains between Simpelius N and Manzinus C craters.
This event was India's first attempt at a soft landing on the Moon.
The US agency said Vikram's targeted landing site was located about 600 kilometers (370 miles) from the south pole in a relatively ancient terrain (70.8AoS latitude, 23.5AoE longitude).
"In order to visualise the site, take a quick fly-around. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) passed over the landing site on September 17 and acquired a set of high resolution images of the area; so far the LROC team has not been able to locate or image the lander," NASA said.
"It was dusk when the landing area was imaged and thus large shadows covered much of the terrain; it is possible that the Vikram lander is hiding in a shadow. The lighting will be favorable when LRO passes over the site in October and once again attempts to locate and image the lander," NASA added.
A wide view of a series of Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter Camera's narrow angle camera images collected on Sept. 17 showing the area of the targeted Vikram landing site.