Where oh, where did the moon land of India go? More than a month after Chandrayan-2's Vikram lander had an unsuccessful landing in a catastrophe, somewhere near the unexplored lunar south pole, NASA still has no trace of it.
After transferring a new set of photos from the Space Agency's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), its experts came up empty-handed for the second time. Comparing images from before and after the crash, they say that this area of the moon looks completely empty.
Last spring in September also gave us no luck, although at that time the images were taken in the evening, so there were bigger shadows on the ground.
They may have darkened the earth very well and yet, even in October, when the lighting was supposed to be more favorable, nothing was seen.
"This may be Vikram is located in the shadow or out of the search area," John Keller, a deputy scientist on the LRO mission project, told the Press Trust of India.
"Because of the low latitude, about 70 degrees south, the area is never completely shaded."
Or maybe we're just not looking in the right place. During the "difficult" landing, the Indian Space Agency lost contact with the lander, and the cold night in this part of the solar system was a death sentence for human machines.
The day after the crash, the Indian Space Research Organization reports that it has found ground in a thermal image of the moon, so it may be hiding in the shade cover.
Earlier this year, another lunar land called Beresheet by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries met the same unfortunate fate, but eventually it was discovered on the surface using the same techniques now used by experts.
For now, we're just going to have to keep looking. [1