NASA photos show the crash site of India's Vikram lunar lander

Chandrayaan 2 Vikram landers impact site extensive debris field found in images taken by NASAs lunar orbiter

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

The voyage of Chandrayaan-2 transfixed India and put it on the brink of becoming only the fourth country in the world to land a rover on the moon.

Thanking Subramanian for an interesting observation, Nasa's deputy project scientist (LRO mission) John Keller said its LROC team confirmed that location did exhibit changes in images taken before and after the day of landing. Follow-up images taken in mid-October and again November 11 identified the impact site, about 750 meters away from that initial piece of debris, as well as other debris. But contact was lost on descent, with the Vikram lander going silent around 2 km (1.2 mi) from the surface and remaining that way since. Mr Subramanian had tweeted on October 3, tagging NASA and ISRO.

A previous version of this article identified Shanmuga Subramanian as ISRO scientist.

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The lander, with an orbiter and a rover called Pragyaan in tow, launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on July 15. However, ISRO lost contact with their lander shortly before the scheduled touchdown on September 7. Besides describing himself as a mechanical engineer and app developer, his Twitter bio now also says 'and I found Vikram Lander!' "Is this Vikram lander?" Green dots indicate spacecraft debris; blue dots locate disturbed soil; S indicates debris identified by Shanmuga Subramanian. "This portion of the Narrow-Angle Camera mosaic was made from images M1328074531L/R and M1328081572L/R acquired November 11", said a statement from NASA.

"I chose to search around 2×2 sq km area around the expected landing coordinates and concentrated my efforts north of landing point, as Vikram approached the (designated) area from the North Pole", he added. "After receiving this tip, the LROC team confirmed the identification by comparing before and after images", said NASA in a statement.

By analysing before and after images of the September 6 crash, NASA was able to locate the impact crater.

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"He went through the image, looking pixel by pixel and found that spot", Petro added.

S. Somanath, director of ISRO's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, said during an October 21 interview at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington that ISRO was holding off on making a formal announcement about the lander's fate until engineers completed simulations of what happened to it after contact was cut off.

"The crash landing of Vikram rekindled an interest in the moon not only for me and others also", he wrote in an email.

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The lander crashed close to the expected site of landing - the impact site's coordinates are 70.8810°S, 22.7840°E, while the expected landing coordinates were 70.9°S, 22.7°E. The image captured by LROC showed the site of the spacecraft's impact and associated debris field when it made a hard landing in September.

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