Isro shares photos of Vikram lander clicked by Chandrayaan-2 in now deleted post

Isro shares photos of Vikram lander clicked by Chandrayaan-2 in now deleted post

ISRO deletes post on ‘Vikram’ lander clicked by Chandrayaan-2 orbiter

On Friday, August 25, 2023, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) posted and then deleted a high-quality photo of the ‘Vikram’ lander of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, which had successfully landed on the Moon’s surface two days earlier. The photo was taken by the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which has been orbiting the Moon since 2019 and has a camera with the best resolution anyone currently has around the Moon.

The ISRO had shared the photo on X, a social media platform formerly known as Twitter, with a caption that read: “I spy you! 😂 Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter 📸photoshoots Chandrayaan-3 Lander!” The post also said that the orbiter’s high-resolution camera had spotted the lander after its landing on 23/2/23 . However, the post was deleted within minutes, without any explanation from the ISRO.

The deletion of the post sparked curiosity and speculation among netizens, who wondered why the ISRO had removed the photo. Some users suggested that the photo might have been fake or edited, while others speculated that the ISRO might have wanted to keep the photo confidential for some reason. Some users also expressed disappointment and frustration over not being able to see the photo of the historic achievement.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission was India’s second attempt to land a spacecraft on the Moon, after the failure of the Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019, when its lander crashed during the final descent. The Chandrayaan-3 mission consisted of a lander module and a rover module, which were launched by a GSLV Mk III rocket on February 15, 2023. The lander module, named Vikram after the father of India’s space programme, Dr Vikram Sarabhai, successfully touched down on the lunar south pole on Wednesday, August 23, 2023, making India the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, and the first to reach the unexplored south pole region.

The rover module, named Pragyan, which means ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit, exited the lander on Thursday, August 24, 2023, and began its exploration of the lunar surface. The rover is equipped with six scientific instruments to study the lunar soil, minerals, rocks and atmosphere. The rover is expected to operate for at least 14 Earth days (one lunar day), while the lander is expected to operate for at least one Earth year (12 lunar days).

The ISRO has not yet commented on why it deleted the post or whether it will release the photo again. However, it has been providing regular updates on the status and activities of the lander and rover modules through its official website and social media accounts. The ISRO has also said that a two-way communication has been established between the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and the Chandrayaan-3 lander module, which means that the orbiter can relay data and commands between the Earth and the lander.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission is a major milestone for India’s space programme, as it demonstrates its technological capabilities and scientific ambitions in exploring the Moon. The mission is also expected to contribute to the global understanding of the Moon’s geology, environment and resources, especially in the south pole region, which is considered to be rich in water ice and other volatiles. The mission is also seen as a precursor to future human missions to the Moon and beyond.


(2) Isro shares photos of Vikram lander clicked by Chandrayaan-2 in now deleted post.
(3) ISRO shares, then deletes purported pics of Chandrayaan-3 lander as seen from Chandrayaan-2 orbiter.
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