On September 7th, India’s maiden attempt to land a rover on the Moon suffered a setback as mission control lost contact with the lander Vikram (detached from the orbiter Chandrayaan 2) just 1.3 miles (2.1 km) above the surface of the Moon which then was believed to have crash landed.
NASA has been trying to triangulate the exact location of the wreckage since then and finally were able to pinpoint the fateful spot. 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.
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.