Three months after the Vikram Lander hit the moon, NASA confirmed the exact location of the crash . The Space Agency credits Shanmuga Subramanian, an Indian app developer and amateur space explorer, with the scattered remains of the lost probe.
It is not commonplace that you are applauded by NASA for an important discovery so we can only imagine the fuss the Subramanian must have felt yesterday when he met this Tweet published.
Subramanian, a mechanical engineer and app developer, found the field of rubble as he meticulously examined a photograph taken a few days after the crash by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC). NASA published the photo – a mosaic image of the likely area where the Vikram Lander met – on September 26, 2019 in the hope that the public could help locate the fallen probe and its debris field ,
The strategy worked when NASA yesterday officially confirmed the location of the crash site in a tweet . Launched in July 2019 as part of the Chandrayaan-2 mission the Vikram Moon Lander was India's effort to become only the fourth country that landed a probe on the moon. Unfortunately, in a scene reminiscent of Israel's failed Beresheet Moon Mission the probe failed to land gently a few months earlier.
In the early morning hours of September 7 with millions of excited Indian citizens, the probe fell silent when it was 2.1 kilometers above the lunar surface. The probe did not slow down and hit an estimated 180 km / h (110 mph) into the moon. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) spent weeks trying to establish contact with the lander and finally abandoned .
Subramanian discovered the debris field in early October, but NASA took several weeks to confirm the discovery. An annotated picture of the crash site shows numerous parts scattered over a several kilometer long area.
In an e-mail to Subramanian, scientist John Keller apologized for the delay and said: "We had to be sure of our interpretation of the observation and make sure everything was alright. The stakeholders had an opportunity to express themselves before we were able to announce the results. As for the cause of the failed landing, the fatal flaw was a flaw that had to do with the probe's guidance software. Undaunted by the setback, India plans to try again with the Chandrayaan 3 mission, which could land on the Moon as early as November 2020.