Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has reportedly failed to spot India’s failed Chandrayaan-2 lunar lander.

Mark Carreau of Aerospace Daily & Defense Report says LRO’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) on Sept. 17 imaged the intended lunar south pole landing site for India’s Chandrayaan-2 Vikram lander, “but long shadows in the area may be obscuring the silent lunar explorer.”

“It was near dusk as the region prepares to transition from a two-week lunar day to and equally long lunar night, so shadows covered much of the region and Vikram may not be in the LROC’s field of view,” citing a NASA statement.

India’s targeted site for Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander. Photo taken of area prior to landing attempt by NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s LROC camera.
Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Data sharing

In a statement provided to Inside Outer Space by Mark Robinson, LROC’s lead investigator at Arizona State University: “Per NASA policy, all LRO data are publicly available. NASA will share any before and after flyover imagery of the area around the targeted Chandrayaan-2 Vikram Lander landing site to support analysis by the Indian Space Research Organization.”

The statement also noted that on the September 17th LRO flyover of the area, local lunar time will be near dusk, “leading to poor lighting and a challenging imaging environment.”

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