NASA lunar orbiter to fly over Chandrayaan 2, to take photos of landing site

Bengaluru | A National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) lunar orbiter is scheduled to fly over the part of Moon where ISRO orbiter Chandrayaan 2 lies.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will fly over Chandrayaan 2 on September 17, and is possible that it could fly over Vikram’s landing site and attempt to take pictures of the lander in the hopes of determining the spacecraft’s fate.

There is a concern about the fading light on that part of the Moon, pictures could be unclear. It is unknown at what time will the orbiter perform the fly-by.

NASA will share any before and after flyover imagery of the area around the targeted Chandrayaan 2 Vikram lander landing site to support analysis by the Indian Space Research Organization,” LRO project lead Noah Petro told Spaceflight Now on Thursday.

Launched in 2009, Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is part of an exploration-cum-science mission. The LRO has spent a large part of its mission mapping the lunar surface to identify sites for future robot and human missions to the Moon.

After the ISRO team lost communication with the Vikram lander minuted before its scheduled landing, NASA had commended ISRO’s attempts.

“Space is hard. We commend ISRO’s attempt to land their Chandrayaan 2 mission on the Moon’s South Pole. You have inspired us with your journey and look forward to future opportunities to explore our solar system together”, NASA had written on Twitter.

This mission objective is the same as Chandrayaan-2. The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which is safe in its orbit around the Moon, too will study the south polar region of the Moon and attempt to estimate the quantity of iced water present there.

Chandrayaan 1 had confirmed the presence of iced water on the Moon.

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