'I found Vikram lander': Chennai techie finds debris, writes to NASA

Updated: Dec 03, 2019, 11:06 IST | mid-day online correspondent |

Subramanian contacted NASA's project after which, the US space agency confirmed the identification of debris by comparing before and after images.

Pic/@Ramanean's Twitter
Pic/@Ramanean's Twitter

American space agency NASA has credited a Chennai engineer for finding the debris of Chandrayaan 2's Vikram Lander on the moon's surface.

In an official mail from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LROC) mission of Goddard Space Flight Centre, a mechanical engineer from Chennai, Shanmuga Subramanian has been credited for the discovery.

Subramanian contacted NASA's project after which, the US space agency confirmed the identification of debris by comparing before and after images.

"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.

The email from John Keller, Deputy Project Scientist, LROC, said, "Thank you for informing us of your discovery of debris from the Vikram lander. The LROC team confirmed that the location does exhibit changes in images taken before and after the date of the landing. Using this information the LROC team did additional searches in this area and located the site of the primary impact as well as other debris around the impact location and has announced the sighting on the NASA and ASU pages where you have been given credit for your observation."

Vikram LanderPic/ Ramanean's Twitter

"The debris first located by Shanmuga is about 750 meters northwest of the main crash site and was a single bright pixel identification in that first mosaic," NASA said in a statement.

Subramanian had contacted the space agency in October but they took time to be sure of the interpretation and also give a chance to all the stakeholders to comment. 

The ambitious Chandrayaan-2 mission to the Moon was launched in July. On September 7, the 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. 

Ever since ISRO lost contact with Vikram, NASA has made several attempts to locate the Chandrayaan-2 lander with the help of its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

If the spacecraft had reached the surface in one piece on September 7, India would have been only the fourth country to successfully put a lander on the Moon.

(with inputs from PTI) 

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