Space enthusiast helps NASA locate Vikram lander's crash site on the moon

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) image of Vikram's debris on the lunar surface spotted using the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC)NASA
  • Vikram, India’s lunar lander from the Chandrayaan-2 mission, has been spotted on the moon by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • The lander’s debris was first identified by Shanmuga Subramanian — 750 meters from the main crash site.
  • The largest pieces at about 1.5 meters across.
Three months after India’s failed attempt to land on the Moon, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA) has finally spotted the lander, Vikram, on the lunar surface.

The American space agency’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) tried to locate Vikram earlier in September as well but the light conditions were too harsh for an accurate image.


The first signs of debris were located by Shanmuga Subramanian, a space enthusiast, about 750 meters northwest of the main crash site. The largest pieces at about 1.5 meters across.

"Subramanian contacted the LRO project with positive identification of debris. After receiving this tip, the LROC team confirmed the identification by comparing before and after images," said NASA in a statement.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been trying to determine what went wrong since the failed landing on 7 September 2019. But has since been tight-lipped about the incident.

ISRO reportedly spotted the lander with their own orbiter but did not release those images to the public.

It was only two weeks ago, during a parliamentary session, when Jitendra Singh, a minister of state, admitted that Vikram had hard-landed — or crashed — onto the lunar surface.

“Due to this deviation, the initial conditions at the start of the fine braking phase were beyond the designed parameters. As a result, Vikram hard-landed within 500 meters of the designated landing site,” he said.

Experts assert that the Chandrayaan-2 mission was still a success since one of its three components, the orbiter, was successfully put in orbit around the Moon.

See also:
Everything you need to know about Vikram, Chandrayaan 2's lander, as it lands on the Moon

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Moon landing drama: Play by play of ISRO losing communication with Chandrayaan 2's lander