'Already Done,' Says ISRO Boss On Chennai Engineer Spotting Lander Debris

Clay Curtis
December 5, 2019

Indian Space Research Organisation Chief K Sivan has said that the Vikram Lander of Chandrayaan-2 had been spotted by the space agency's own orbiter much ahead of NASA, which on Tuesday announced that it had located the debris of Vikram's crash landing on the moon in September a year ago and credited a Chennai-based engineer for the finding.

This image released by NASA shows the Vikram Lander impact point and the debris field.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has helped India and its space agency locate the Vikram Lander and map the impact site. "We had declared that on our website which you can go back and see". "All possible efforts are being made to establish communication with lander", it had tweeted at 10:20 am on September 10. The space agency is crediting Shanmuga Subramanian - an Indian app developer and amateur space sleuth - for spotting the scattered remains of the lost probe.

NASA released an image taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that showed the site of the spacecraft's impact (September 6 in India and September 7 in the US) and associated debris field, with parts scattered over nearly two dozen locations spanning several kilometers. Its debris was strewn across about 750 metres of the crash site. Later, he also shared a screenshot of an email he received from NASA. NASA has released a picture taken from its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) on Tuesday morning. From the Vikram lander's last known location, I knew it must be somewhere around that. Blue dots locate disturbed soil, likely where small bits of the spacecraft churned up the regolith.

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LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro, to whom Subramanian emailed his finding, had said, "The story of this really incredible individual (who) found it, helped us find it, is really awesome".

The crash site was found by an Indian engineer, and NASA released a photo showing the site of the lander's impact this week. "For the first few days, I was scanning the images randomly and there were a lot of false positives".

Mr Subramanian tagged the Twitter handles of Nasa and Isro in a tweet on October 3, and asked, "Is this Vikram lander?"

The mission known as Chandrayaan-2 was to study the permanently shaded moon craters, which are believed to contain water deposits, confirmed by the Chandrayaan-1 Indian Mission in 2008. "I narrowed my search to 2 sq km".

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