BENGALURU: Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chairman K Sivan on Sunday confirmed that “we have the image (of Vikram lander) and are analysing the data”. He said the cameras on board the orbiter have clicked the image of the lander. However, the agency has not been able to get a signal from the lander, which went incommunicado minutes before its scheduled landing on September 7. Isro has been trying to find the exact reason for Vikram’s ‘hard-landing’, analysing the image of the four-legged probe on the lunar surface since Saturday. Late on Saturday, a scientist had told TOI Isro was looking at the image. “Once the image was taken yesterday (Saturday), we had to ascertain if the object we saw was Vikram. Then, based on the latitude and longitude, we checked old images from the same site. The old images didn’t show any objects, while the new one showed an object, which is how we concluded it was Vikram,” he said. On Vikram’s condition, Sivan said: “At this moment, we don’t have any information about that. Also, we are still trying to re-establish a communication link.” Isro may later lower the orbiter’s altitude. A source said that the agency was yet to conclude if the transponder on Vikram is still intact. In Sunday’s edition, TOI had reported that the orbiter could spot Vikram within three days. A senior scientist analysing the data said that the probe, among other things, is also focusing on the “unknown” or “natural phenomena” that may have caused Vikram to lose its orientation and change trajectory. “At the outset, it appears that a more than optimal thrust, or a more than required horizontal velocity could have caused the lander to spin out of control. But we are also looking at other things, including what we may have not anticipated,” the scientist said. Explaining further, he said that there could have been some “unknown” effect on the lander while it was performing the descent from which it couldn’t recover. “It could as well be a natural phenomena we hadn’t accounted for. We are still looking,” he said. Reiterating that Chandrayaan-2 orbiter’s bonus lifespan is a big takeaway, he said that the satellite will provide breakthrough data. “.. I am telling you that we will have another breakthrough with data about water. Given that our orbiter orientation is 90 degree, we have an advantage in locating ice and water. We will be specifically able to look at solidised or frozen water 10m under the surface of the Moon. We will make history,” he added. Another scientist Isro pace agency is considering performing more manoeuvres on the orbiter to bring it down to a lower orbit after a few months.
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