NASA locates debris from India moon lander that crashed

Tanya Simon
December 3, 2019

"This portion of the Narrow-Angle Camera mosaic was made from images M1328074531L/R and M1328081572L/R acquired November 11", said a statement from NASA. In which the location affected by Vikram Lander is visible.

Ten days after the lander lost contact, NASA released an image mosaic, reported CNN, inviting citizen scientists to scan it for signs of debris.

"The story of this really wonderful individual (who) found it, helped us find it, is really awesome".

Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander had attempted a soft landing on the moon on September 7, but lost communication with the ISRO minutes before touchdown.

A NASA satellite has plucked a needle from the haystack, spotting debris from India's ill-fated Vikram lunar lander, which crashed on the moon's surface in September after an unsuccessful touch-down attempt. I'm not above a little national pride when it comes to such things, but I also wonder how much it will matter by then, too.

"His discovery pointed us to the right area".

"LRO's data is a treasure trove".

To be certain, NASA also contacted ISRO and shared the findings before making the announcement. "It was something challenging as even Nasa can't find out [where the lander was] so why can't we try [it] out?"

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A mechanical engineer with passion for rocket science, Subramanian said the discussions on public forums about the whereabouts of the Lander enthused him to keep looking for it.

"I worked hard tracking the intended path of Vikram lander".

Late last month, the Indian government revealed that its failed lunar lander did indeed crash on the Moon's surface in early September.

Subramanian spoke of the social media world of space enthusiasts where intense discussions were taking place about the mystery of Vikram and which helped his quest. "Again, I would wake wake up by 6 am and scan the photos until 8 am before leaving for office", he said.

"I chose to search around 2×2 sq km area around the expected landing coordinates and concentrated my efforts north of landing point, as Vikram approached the (designated) area from the North Pole", he added.

That tweet was from CG Bassa, an astronomer with Astron, the Dutch radio astronomy institute. I sent emails to a couple of NASA scientists.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is yet to share their comments on the image publicly. The NASA spacecraft's first pass over the impact site occurred on September 17, and the LROC team published the resulting image later that month, even though they didn't think they had found any sign of the crash.

The lander crashed close to the expected site of landing - the impact site's coordinates are 70.8810°S, 22.7840°E, while the expected landing coordinates were 70.9°S, 22.7°E.

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