Chandrayaan-2 Vikram Lander spotted; Here are the images

Chandrayaan-2 Vikram Lander spotted; Here are the images

The Vikram lander is part of the Indian Space Research Organisation's Chandrayaan-2 Moon mission, all other parts of which are going on as planned. But despite having acquired the images, the lander's location remained a mystery. And who helped the Americans? He is an engineering graduate from the Government Engineering College in Tirunelvelli.

"I feel very happy that I could find the debris".

Mr Subramanian told New Delhi Television he worked for up to seven hours a day scanning through the lunar images.

The discovery came with the help of an Indian mechanical engineer called Shanmuga Subramanian, who contacted NASA after studying images of the site released by the agency's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team on September 26.

A space enthusiast, Subramanian found the lander on Moon's south pole by using U.S. space agency Nasa images. "I found Lander Vikram", he updated on Twitter.

"It took days of work to find the crash site", Shanmugham said.

Vikram lander's ejecta as seen by LRO's camera.

In the two weeks after the crash, ISRO failed to regain contact with the lander before the lunar night plunged surface temperatures to -180 degrees Celsius (-292 degrees Fahrenheit).

NASA said the impact point was "poorly illuminated" and "not easily identifiable", making Mr Subramanian's search even more hard. Though both did not reply to him then, NASA sent him a mail on October 3 confirming that their satellite went on to investigate the spot that Shamuga pointed out and they found the debris.

Mr Subramanian said he hoped India would be successful in another attempt to land on the Moon. "I got a good response from them". After this Shanmuga Subramanian contacted the LRO project with a positive identification of debris. He says that even ISRO should do the same. "It's quite big but it is a little sad at the same time because we all expected Vikram to land on the surface", Subramanian told the television channel.

LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro said: "The story of this really wonderful individual (who) found it, helped us find it, is really awesome".

India's Chandrayaan-2 mission launched in July. "Just have the images open side by side and go through pixel after pixel", he added. To help the public make sense of the image, NASA used green dots to identify spots where the spacecraft debris is located and blue dots to show where the soil was disturbed by the crash landing. This image also best shows the impact crater, and the lander's "extensive debris field", NASA said in a press release.

LRO first imaged the landing site September 17, but the poor lighting of the area made it hard to identify where the spacecraft had come down.

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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