US space agency NASA announced that they had found the debris of Vikram – the lander of Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the moon. Images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, revealed that Vikram had crash landed about 600 km (372 miles) from the Moon’s South Pole which clearly shows an impact point surrounded by the shards and the debris of the lander upon impact.
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.
This news about the location of the lander’s crash site came a week after ISRO finally admitted that the lander had indeed suffered this fate, two and a half months after the tragic loss of contact with the lander.
The lander Vikram which housed the rover Pragyaan were launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on the 15th of July as part of the Chandrayaan 2 mission, a follow up mission after India tasted success with the Chandrayaan 1 mission which included an orbiter and an impactor.
The orbiter in the Chandrayaan 2 mission is continuing its operations full-fledged, unfazed by what happened with its lander.
Had the mission achieved the intended success by soft landing the lander and deploying the rover, India would be the fourth country to have achieved this feat after the US, the USSR and China.
NASA showed their solidarity towards their Indian counterpart and said in a statement that getting that close to the surface was in itself an amazing achievement.