Chandrayaan-2 rover intact? Isro probing Nasa images; Chennai techie tips off agency | India News

BENGALURU: Nearly 10 months after Isro’s failed attempt to soft land Vikram, the lander on Chandrayaan-2 mission that was carrying a rover (Pragyan), new images from Nasa have rekindled interest in the mission.
Shanmuga Subramani, a techie from Chennai who had identified Vikram’s debris using Nasa images last year has now sent emails to the Indian space agency, claiming that the new set of images released by Nasa in May show Pragyan and even a track that indicates that the rover may have moved a few meters.
Isro chairman K Sivan, confirming this, told STOI: “We’ve heard nothing from Nasa so far on the matter. But yes, the person who had identified Vikram debris earlier has sent us an email about this. Our specialists are looking into the matter and we cannot say anything at this juncture.”
The November 2019 images from Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) showed the debris of Vikram lander. Given that Moon’s polar region is not always well lit and the lander was in a shallow depth of 2ms from the surface, the rover was not visible from the November images.
“Going by the January 4 images (made public in May), however, I think Pragyan may be intact and that it has rolled out a few metres from the lander. We need to know how the rover may have moved and I hope Isro is able to confirm this,” Shanmuga Subramani told STOI.
He further postulated that Pragyan rolled out acting on some of the blind commands sent by Isro’s ground command that was relayed by Vikram. However, Isro, which lost communication with Vikram in the early hours of September 7, 2019 has not been able to re-establish contact since.
The agency, however, had tried communicating with Vikram for multiple days after the hard-landing. One explanation to the rover’s movement on Moon’s surface, if the finding is accurate, would be that Vikram, which lost communication with the ground station, may have sent some commands to Pragyan which Isro never learnt about.
“We will have to analyse and see what may have happened. There is nothing concrete now,” Sivan said.

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