US space agency NASA on Tuesday announced that they had found the debris of Vikram – the lander of Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the moon. The space agency said that a Chennai-based engineer had first spotted the debris in an image released by NASA on September 26, which was taken on September 16.
Indian Engineer Shanmuga Subramanian contacted NASA's project after which, the US space agency confirmed the identification of debris by comparing before and after images.
According to reports, Shanmuga spent hours before a computer comparing the images. He told news gency AFP that he did sid-by-side comparison of the above two images using two of his laptops. He added that he had help from fellow Twitter and Reddit users too.
In an image released by NASA shown below, the space agency pointed out, “Green dots indicate spacecraft debris (confirmed or likely). Blue dots locate disturbed soil, likely where small bits of the spacecraft churned up the regolith. "S" indicates debris identified by Shanmuga Subramanian.”
NASA's Moon-orbiting spacecraft found the debris of the lander on the lunar surface, nearly three months after India's ambitious mission made a hard landing near the uncharted lunar south pole.
On September 7, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) attempted a soft landing of Vikram on the Moon. However, ISRO lost contact with Vikram shortly before the scheduled touchdown.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Camera team released the first mosaic, acquired on September 17, of the site on September 26.
After receiving this tip, the LROC team confirmed the identification by comparing before and after images. When the images for the first mosaic were acquired the impact point was poorly illuminated and thus not easily identifiable," NASA said in a statement.
While Vikram could not make the soft landing, NASA lauded ISRO for its attempt. “Despite the loss, getting that close to the surface was an amazing achievement.”