NASA finds the debris from India's lunar lander Vikram | SPACE NEWS, December 2019.

A lost lunar lander has been found. After the crash during the landing attempt in September, the location of the debris of India's Vikram moon lander was not immediately visible. Now NASA has identified an area where the debris of the lunar lander can be found.



NASA finds the debris from India's lunar lander Vikram.
NASA finds the debris from India's lunar lander Vikram.


An amateur astronomer tipped off the team of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) after it had made the images of the area available online. 


Shanmuga Subramanian contacted the LRO project with a positive identification of the debris', according to a statement of 2 December.

The first images, made in September, were poorly photographed. This made it difficult to identify the debris. On images made in October and November the debris was more clearly visible.

NASA was able to confirm the spot where the Vikram crashed on the moon by comparing photos from before and after the crash. 

The debris first seen by Subramanian was 750 meters northwest of the crash site. The LRO team later found twenty other pieces of debris and several impact sites.



The remains of Vikram lunar spaceship The green dots indicate the debris. The blue dots indicate disturbance of the moon floor. Image: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University.
The remains of Vikram lunar spaceship. The green dots indicate the debris. The blue dots indicate disturbance of the moon floor. Image: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University. Debris from India's lunar lander Vikram.


The remains of Vikram lunar spaceship.

The Vikram lander was part of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India. A six-wheeled rover was part of this mission. 

The intention was to land and explore the south pole of the moon, an unexplored area. In this area, craters filled with water ice are permanently in the shade.

When the lander was only 2.1 kilometres above the surface of the moon, communication with the scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation was lost. The lander could not slow down enough for the landing.

Shortly after the crash there was still some hope that the lander might not have been destroyed, but stood in the shadow of a crater, so that the lander could not be seen on the images. Now it appears that this is not the case.

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