NASA validates Chennai techie's find of Vikram Lander debris on moon’s surface



Three months after the Vikram lander of Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan 2 mission made a hard landing on moon’s surface, the United States’ space agency Tuesday validated a Chennai engineer’s efforts in spotting the lander’s debris.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said that its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Camera has sighted the remains of Vikram lander on the lunar surface. NASA’s confirmation came after an Indian computer programmer and mechanical engineer named Shanmuga Subramanian contacted NASA’s project after which, the American space agency confirmed the identification by comparing before and after images.“Shanmuga Subramanian contacted the LRO project with positive identification of debris. After receiving this tip, the LROC team confirmed the identification by comparing before and after images,” NASA stated.

NASA further informed that the debris was first located by Shanmuga about 750 meters northwest of the main crash site.  “The LROC team scoured the surrounding area in these new mosaics and found the impact site (70.8810°S,  22.7840°E, 834 m elevation) and associated debris field. The November mosaic had the best pixel scale (0.7 meter) and lighting conditions (72° incidence angle),” it said.

NASA also praised ISRO’s effort to get the lander ‘that close’ to the lunar surface.  “…unfortunately, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost contact with their lander shortly before the scheduled touchdown (Sept. 7 in India, Sept. 6 in the United States).  Despite the loss, getting that close to the surface was an amazing achievement,” it said.