No communication with Vikram Lander, says ISRO chief
K Sivan, the Chairman of Indian Space Research Organization, has confirmed that the space agency hasn't been able to establish contact with the Vikram Lander of Chandrayaan-2. The update came just a few hours after the 14-day window to get the Lander back online ended. However, Sivan did emphasize that the orbiter element of the mission is healthy and operating normally.
Vikram went silent during attempted landing on September 7
ISRO attempted to soft-land Vikram, and its internalized rover Pragyaan, in the early morning hours of September 7. However, due to some reason, the powered descent went off track and contraption went silent at an altitude of about 400 meters. A day later, the agency claimed it had found the Lander, which seemingly hard-landed in a region not far from the targeted location.
Since then, ISRO tried establishing contact, with no success
Since discovering Vikram, scientists at ISRO worked day and night to get in touch with the Lander. They had a 14-day-window to make contact but none of that worked out, even with the help of American space agency NASA, which sent a probe to photograph Vikram's landing site. The Lander didn't respond and the final 14th day ended on the night of Friday-Saturday.
Why the 14-day deadline?
ISRO only had 14 days because after that period the Sun would set in the region and temperatures would go below -180 degrees Celsius, which Vikram hasn't been configured to bear.
No communication, but ISRO will figure out what happened
Now, at an event in Bhubneshwar, Sivan announced Vikram hasn't responded back to any of the calls. The lunar night has set in on the south pole, but he said the space agency would try to figure out "what really happened to the Lander." "This is our first priority now," he emphasized, according to a statement from IANS.
Orbiter working normally, Gaganyaan mission next priority
Sivan also claimed that the orbiter element of the mission is working normally. The "orbiter continues to perform scheduled science experiments to complete satisfaction. There are eight instruments...and each instrument is doing exactly what it meant to do," he said. Notably, Sivan also emphasized ISRO's next priority will be Gaganyaan, the mission to send three Indians into space.