Published: Tue, December 03, 2019
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Aided by Indian techie, NASA discovers crashed Vikram lander on the Moon

Aided by Indian techie, NASA discovers crashed Vikram lander on the Moon

While Subramanian credits his achievement to Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LRO) team and its data, the LRO maintained that Subramanian's achievement is completely on his merits.

In the email, the NASA official thanked him for informing the organisation about the debris, following which the team compared the old and new images of the impact site and found some change.

An animation released by NASA also shows a before and after comparison of the crash site, in which a faint streak of debris can be seen near the bottom third of the more recent photo.

In a e-mailed response to ET, Subramanian said he was hooked to the images released by NASA and kept scanning it for days on end. In his tweet on 3 October, he wrote: "This might be Vikram lander's crash site (Lat:-70.8552 Lon:21.71233 ) & the ejecta that was thrown out of it might have landed over here".

But the effort ended in heartbreak when Indian space engineers lost contact with the craft during the final minutes of its descent to the surface.

The United States space agency said, the NASA released an image taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, LRO that showed the site of the spacecraft's impact and associated debris field on 6th of September.

In a later set of images, when zoomed in close, he spotted three large pieces of debris each only about two pixels wide on the image with a shadow one pixel wide.

Shanmuga Subramanian is a chennai based Mechanical Engineer who found the debris of Vikram lander by analyzing the Images.

The space agency said in a statement: "The Chandrayaan 2 Vikram lander was targeted for a highland smooth plain about 600 kilometres from the south pole".

NASA said that, while the mission resulted in the loss of Vikram, "getting that close to the surface was an awesome achievement".

After getting the tip-off, the LROC team confirmed the identification of the lander, which had been launched aboard the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft in July. The Vikram Lander had successfully separated from Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter on September 2.

After scouring the images for even the slightest hint of debris and disturbances in the dusty soil covering the area, the scientists were able to lay out a clear picture of the impact site.

When the images for the first mosaic were acquired the impact point was poorly illuminated and thus not easily identifiable.

That tipoff, plus images with better lighting and resolution taken in mid-October and on November 11, gave LROC specialists the details they needed to map the full scope of the surface changes caused by the hard landing.

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