NASA finds Indian Moon lander Vikram crashed point. A NASA satellite orbiting the Moon located India’s Vikram lander which crashed in September on the lunar surface, the U.S. space agency said.
NASA announced on Monday that it released an image taken by it’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) showing the site of the impact of the spacecraft (September 6 in India and September 7 in the United States).
A version of the picture was labeled with pieces dispersed over nearly two dozen locations covering several kilometers to display the associated debris field.
In a statement, NASA said on September 26 it released a mosaic photo of the site (but taken on September 17), encouraging the public to compare it with photos of the same location before the crash to locate the lander’s signs.
Shanmuga “Shan” Subramanian, a 33-year-old Chennai IT specialist, was the first person to come up with a positive identification, who told AFP that NASA’s inability to find the lander on its own had sparked his curiosity.
“I had a side-by-side comparison of those two photos on two of my computers… the old image was on one side, and the new image released by NASA was on the other side,” he said, adding that fellow users of Twitter and Reddit were supporting him.
“It was pretty hard, but (I) invested some energy,” the self-professed nerd said, eventually announcing his discovery on October 3 on Twitter.
NASA then carried out further searches in the area and confirmed the discovery officially about two months later.
“NASA must be 100% sure before they can go public, and that’s why they’ve been waiting to verify it, and I’d have done the same thing,” Subramanian said.
“It was quite clear that Vikram had hard landed on the lunar surface… That it crashed so close to the lunar surface is a testimony to the abilities of the very young Chandrayaan 2 (Moon Vehicle 2) group,” said Pallava Bagla, author of Reaching for the Stars: India’s Journey to Moon, Mars and Beyond.
Space is indeed a risky business and not a stepping stone to prosperity for the faint-hearted, knowing failure.
PALLAVA BAGLA, JOURNALIST SENIOR
“But it’s an amazing fact that it took the Indian Space Agency almost two months to recognize the error,” he told Al Jazeera.
“Space is indeed a risky business and not meant for the faint-hearted, knowing failure is a stepping stone to success.” Blasting off in July, rising Asian power India hoped with its Chandrayaan-2 mission to become just the fourth country after the US, Russia and regional rival China to make a successful Moon landing and the first on the lunar southern pole.
The main spacecraft, which remains in orbit around the Moon, lowered the unmanned lander Vikram for a five-day descent, but only 2.1 kilometers (1.3 miles) above the ground was quiet on the probe.
Days after the unsuccessful landing, the Indian Space Research Organization said it had found the lander but was unable to communicate. News report on NASA finds Indian Moon lander Vikram crashed point