India has found the lander module from its moon mission, a day after the module lost contact with the space station, the head of the nation’s space agency says.
The Press Trust of India news agency cited Indian Space and Research Organisation chairman K Sivan as saying cameras from the moon mission’s orbiter had found the lander on the moon’s surface.
Efforts were under way to try to establish contact with it.
“It must have been a hard landing,” PTI quoted Mr Sivan as saying on Sunday.
He said he did not know if the lander was damaged, but space experts say that can’t be ruled out.
ISRO officials could not be reached for comment.
The space agency said it lost touch with the Vikram lunar lander on Saturday as it made its final approach to the moon’s south pole to deploy a rover to search for signs of water.
A successful landing would have made India just the fourth country to land a vessel on the lunar surface, and only the third to operate a robotic rover there.
The space agency said on Saturday that the lander’s descent was normal until two kilometres from the lunar surface.
The entire control centre in India’s southern city of Bengaluru was jubilant during the first 10 minutes of the lander’s descent, with scientists breaking out in occasional cheers.
There was a sudden change to sombreness and then dejection when the lander stopped sending data during its final minutes of descent.
The roughly $US140 million ($A204 million) mission, known as Chandrayaan-2, was intended to study permanently shadowed moon craters that are thought to contain water deposits that were confirmed by the Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008.
Only three nations – the US, the former Soviet Union and China – have landed spacecrafts on the moon.