Chennai, Aug 1 (IANS) Space enthusiast Shanmuga Subramanian, who found the debris of India’s moonlander Vikram, said on Saturday that Chandrayaan-2’s rover Pragyan seems to be intact on the moon’s surface and had rolled out a few metres from the lander.
In a series of tweets along with the pictures of the moon surface, Subramanian said: “Chandrayaan-2’s Pragyan “ROVER” intact on Moon’s surface & has rolled out few metres from the skeleton Vikram lander whose payloads got disintegrated due to rough landing.”
“We have received communication from him (Subramanian). Our experts are analysing the same,” K. Sivan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told IANS.
“It seems the commands were sent to the lander blindly for days & there is a distinct possibility that the lander could have received commands and relayed it to the rover… but the lander was not able to communicate it back to the earth,” Subramanian said.
There is also the possibility of the rover rolling out of the lander when it impacted the moon surface.
Tweeting a picture taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbital (LRO), Shanmugam said the white dot might be the skeleton lander devoid of other payloads and the black dot might be the rover.
According to him, the rover may be still intact on the moon’s surface. Latest pictures from LRO (Jan 4, 2020) showed rover tracks on the moon from the lander.
He said the debris he had found earlier might be from one of the payloads. The debris found by NASA might be of other payloads, transmitting antenna and thrusters.
Vikram lost contact with ISRO following its launch from Chandrayaan-2 moon orbiter on September 6 last year when it tried to make softlanding near the moon’s south pole.
July 21, 2020 marked a year of the launch of India’s second moon mission by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)-MkIII-M1.
It was on July 22, 2019, when the GSLV rocket, nicknamed ‘Bahubali’, blasted off from the second launch pad at India’s rocket port in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh carrying Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter Vikram (lander) and Pragyan (rover).