Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram Chandra Lander, which crashed on its final approach to the lunar surface in September, has met thanks to an amateur space enthusiasts’ efforts to bring them to sleep. NASA announced on Monday, releasing an image taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), showing the site of the spacecraft’s impact (6 September in India and 7 September in the US). A version of the photograph was marked to show the associated debris area, with parts scattered at about two dozen locations spanning several kilometers.
NASA said in a statement that it released a mosaic image of the site on September 26 (but on September 17), inviting the public to make comparisons with images from the same area before the crash to find signs of the lander.
The first person to come up with a positive identity was Shanmuga “Shan” Subramanian, a 33-year-old IT professional from Chennai who told AFP that NASA’s inability to find the lander on its own aroused her interest.
“Those two images on my two laptops were compared … one side was the old image, and the other side was the new image released by NASA,” he said, adding that he was helped by fellow Twitter and Reddit By users.
“It was tough enough, but (I) made some efforts,” the self-directed space nerd finally announced his discovery on Twitter on October 3.
NASA then made additional discoveries in the area and officially announced the discovery approximately two months later.
Subrahmanyan said, “NASA must be 100 percent certain before going public, and that’s why they waited to confirm it and even I did the same.”
Blasting in July, emerging Asian giant India with its Chandrayaan-2 (“Moon Vehicle 2”) mission hopes to become just the fourth country to make a successful moon landing after the United States, Russia, and regional rival China was. First on the lunar south pole.
The main spacecraft, which orbits around the moon, dropped the unmanned lander Vikram for a descent that would take five days, but the probe went silent just 2.1 kilometers above the surface.
A few days after the landing failed, the Indian Space Research Organization said it was located in the lander, but was not able to establish communications.