Published: Sun, January 05, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

NASA Finally Spots Crashed Indian Moon Lander Vikram

NASA released images taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) showing the impact site and resulting debris field from Vikram, which attempted to make a soft landing in the south polar regions of the moon almost three month ago as part of India's Chandrayaan-2 mission.

NASA, with the assistance of an amateur image analyst, has identified the crash site of India's Vikram lunar lander, the agency announced December 2.

A person named Shanmuga Subramanian contacted the LRO project with positive identification of debris.

Here is NASA's response to Subramanian 's tweet.

"I had side-by-side comparability of these two photographs on two of my laptops... on one facet there was the outdated picture, and one other facet there was the brand new picture launched by NASA", he mentioned, including he was helped by fellow Twitter and Reddit customers.

A day later, the ISRO said it had been a "hard landing".

Chandrayaan 2's lander Vikram disappeared over two months ago on September 7.

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On being able to narrow down the area for his search, he said: "Though there was no data available about the path of Vikram lander, I eventually concluded it would have come from North Pole as one of the tweets from "cgbassa" said Vikram has crossed the North Pole of the moon. After receiving this tip, the LROC team confirmed the identification by comparing before and after images", said NASA's statement.

Asked if he would shift to a field related to space technology, Mr Subramanian, an application developer by profession, said he would continue to pursue his passion only "outside of my work".

On Tuesday a NASA blog post revealed images of the lander captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team.

After the launch of Chandrayaan in 2008, ISRO, on July 22, 2019 launched India's second mission to moon, Chandrayaan 2 comprising orbiter, lander (Vikram) and rover. We needed to be certain of our interpretation of the observation as well as making sure that all stakeholders had an opportunity to comment before we could before we could announce the results.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had lost contact with the lander when it was 2.1 km away from the moon's surface.

However, NASA was helped in this endeavour by a young amateur space enthusiast from India.

If India would have succeeded in its endeavour, it would have become the fourth country to soft-land a spacecraft on the lunar surface after the United States, Russia and China.

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