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8.11.20
Sitting in My Tin Can

India Finds Lost Moon Lander, Tries to Establish Contact

September 9th 19__Victor Tangermann__Filed Under: Off World
ISRO

Ground Control

India may have lost communication with its Vikram lunar lander during its final descent Friday — but it’s possible that not all is lost.

The Indian space agency says it’s spotted its lander using the orbiter that traveled to the Moon along with it, according to the Associated Press. But chances that Vikram is still operational, though tantalizing, are slim.

“Yes, we have located the lander on the lunar surface,” said Indian space program chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan in a local news report. “It must have been a hard landing.”

Stick the Landing

That means India still has an — albeit small — chance of becoming the fourth country in history to softly land a spacecraft on the lunar surface, after launching its Chandrayaan-2 mission from Earth in July and entering lunar orbit on August 20.

And even if Vikram perished during its descent, India has demonstrated its ability to send a spacecraft to the Moon’s orbit and to make a controlled approach — it just didn’t stick the landing this time around.

READ MORE: India locates lander lost on final approach to moon [Associated Press]

More on the lander: Breaking: India Has Lost Communication With Lunar Lander