Chandrayaan 2: ISRO's Moon Mission Is Yet Far From Flop; Orbiter Experiments Still Underway

Indian space agency is also pondering over possible ways to use Chandrayaan-2 orbiter to map the exact location of Vikram's landing site which could also further help in finding clues about its fate.

Chandrayaan 2: ISRO' Moon Mission Is Still Far From Flop; Orbiter Experiments Still Underway
ISRO believes that only 5 per cent of the mission has been lost. (Image: PTI)
By: Sahil Sinha
Updated: 10 Sep 2019 04:37 PM
New Delhi: The entire nation is distressed over the Chandrayaan's lander Vikram going silent minutes before making the final touchdown to moon, but the success of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is still far from flop. It is bad and demotivating that the news of breakdown of communication from Chandrayaan's lander has gripped everyone so much that we forgot to notice that the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter remains operational and will continue to study the Moon from afar for the next one year.

"Only 5 per cent of the mission has been lost - Vikram the lander and Pragyan the rover - while the remaining 95 per cent - that is the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter - is orbiting the moon successfully," an ISRO official told news agency IANS. The Chandrayaan orbiter is successful placed in Moon's lunar orbit and it is much possible that it will help ISRO in re-locating lander Vikram in the recent future.

Currently, ISRO scientists, along with ISRO Chief K Sivan, are going over a number of data sets - those sent back by Vikram before it went incommunicado and also those which might have been captured by various Earth-based space communications devices. For You Information - ISRO has not gave upon lander Vikram yet and is consistently trying  to re-establish communication with rover.

According to experts, the Indian space agency is also pondering over possible ways to use Chandrayaan-2 orbiter to map the exact location of Vikram's landing site which could also further help in finding clues about its fate.

Why Chandrayaan 2 Mission Cannot Be Termed As A Failure?

Landing a rover on Moon's south poll surface was just one part of the ISRO's mission. Interestingly, what many don't realise is the fact that lander Vikram and rover Pragyaan combined carried lesser number of experiments (five). Whereas, Chandrayaan 2 orbiter (which has been deployed successfully in Lunar orbit) has as many as 8 scientific payloads.

So, even assuming the worst, lets say lander Vikram goes completely incommunicado - most of Chandrayaan 2 mission experiments will still be conducted as planned. The mission life of the 2,379-kg orbiter is one year and it will continue performing experiments and beam results back to ISRO.

WORTH NOTING: One of the prime object of this unmanned moon mission was to estimate the quantity of iced water present in the south polar region of India's natural satellite and this experiment is to be preformed by the orbiter not lander Vikram or rover Pragyaan. During the Chandrayaan 1 mission, which was conducted near the south pole, some signs of frozen water present in the nearby areas were detected. The Chandrayaan-2 mission is supposed to follow up on those findings.

"The orbiter can take several pictures of the moon and send it to the ISRO over the next year. The orbiter can take pictures of the lander to find out its status too," the ISRO official added. The rover inside the lander had a lifespan of only 14 days.

Quick Recap

ISRO on September 2 had successfully carried out the separation of lander Vikram (with rover Pragyan housed inside) from the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter. In the early hours of Saturday, communication from 'Vikram' lander to ground stations was lost during its powered descent to the Lunar surface, and ISRO said data is being analysed.

Vikram lander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km. Subsequently, the communication from lander to ground stations was lost.