NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft (LRO), deputy project scientist John Keller released a NASA statement confirming that the orbiter’s camera captured the images of the lunar trip made by the Chandrayaan-2 Vikram lander.
The world watched as the India’s Chandrayaan-2 Vikram lander aimed for a successful touchdown on the moon on Sept. 6 but the lander lost communication with mission control just above the lunar surface
“The LROC team will analyze these new images and compare them to previous images to see if the lander is visible, it may be in shadow or outside the imaged area,” the statement read.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft flew over Vikram’s targeted landing site on Tuesday and snapped a series of images of the area.
According to reports, there’s uncertainty about where exactly Vikram ended up and whether it crashed or may have landed more or less intact. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has not been able to establish communication with the lander, which also had a rover on board.
NASA is validating, analyzing and reviewing the images. It was near lunar dusk when the orbiter passed over; meaning large parts of the area were in shadow.
India had hoped to become the fourth country to successfully soft-land a spacecraft on the moon. Israel had tried for this achievement back in April, but its Beresheet mission crashed on arrival.
The LRO is expected to fly over the targeted landing site of the Vikram again on Oct. 14 when lighting conditions are expected to be better. NASA said it will make the results of this week’s flyover available as soon as possible.