An official from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has confirmed the failed Vikram lander has been found. Although the exact condition of the lander is not known, the ISRO has revealed that it has begun efforts to restore contact, efforts that will continue for at least 14 days.
A soft landing of the Vikram lander was attempted late Friday. It began as planned with the lander following its designated descent trajectory from an orbit of 35 kilometers to 2 kilometers above the lunar surface. As it dipped below an altitude of 2 kilometers, all signal with the lander was lost and operators were unable to regain communication as it hurtled to the surface of the Moon. Following a tense few moments, officials finally confirmed that the lander had been lost.
In a September 8 statement to ANI, ISRO Chairperson Kailasavadivoo Sivan confirmed that the lander had been located. “We’ve found the location of the Lander Vikram on [the] lunar surface and [the] Orbiter has clicked a thermal image of the lander,” he said.
Although some reports have indicated that the Vikram lander had been located just 500 meters from its primary landing zone, there currently appears to be no confirmation of this fact from the ISRO. Additionally, several images have begun to circulate claiming to be those captured by the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter. However, none appear to be authentic with one particular image confirmed as the successful landing zone of the Apollo 16 lander.
The ISRO has confirmed that it has begun efforts to reestablish contact with the lander. Although the exact condition of the lander was not confirmed, one can assume that it must appear somewhat intact for officials to deem it at all possible for contact to be reestablished.
Efforts to contact the Vikram lander will continue for 14 days, the planned duration of the lander’s mission. Following that, any of the lander’s electronic systems still intact will likely succumb to the frigid lunar night.