The Indian technician, Shanmuga Subramanian, helps NASA find the Vikram landing module of Chandrayaan 2 on the Moon
WASHINGTON: the Vikram landing module, which crashed on the surface of the Moon in September, it has been found by Pot The US space agency confirmed Tuesday, praising a Chennai-based technician who helped him track the debris of India's ambitious lunar mission by spending hours comparing images of the landing site before and after.
Pot 's confirmation came nearly three months after India's Chandrayaan-2 mission made a hard landing near the uncharted lunar south pole in the wee hours of September 7.
"The Chandrayaan2 Vikram lander has been found by our Pot Moon mission, the . See the first mosaic of the impact site," Pot said in a tweet sharing before and after impact images.
On September 7, the (ISRO) attempted a soft landing of Vikram on the Moon . However, ISRO lost contact with Vikram shortly before the scheduled touchdown.
Pot 's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team had released the first mosaic of images acquired during its September 17 flyby of the Moon .
The US space agency released a mosaic image of the site on September 26 (but taken on September 17), inviting people to compare it with images from the same area before the accident to find signals from the landing module.
The first person to reach a positive identification was Shanmuga Subramanian, an IT professional based in Chennai, who confirmed the identification of the Vikram accident site by comparing before and after images.
"The debris first located by Shanmuga is about 750 metres northwest of the main crash site and was a single bright pixel identification in that first mosaic," Pot said.
After receiving this advice, the LROC team confirmed the identification by comparing the before and after images.
"When the images for the first mosaic were acquired the impact point was poorly illuminated and thus not easily identifiable," Pot said in a statement, adding that two subsequent image sequences were acquired on October 14 and 15, and November 11.
The LROC team toured the surrounding area in these new mosaics and found the impact point about 2,500 feet southeast of the planned landing site, and a shower of debris emanating outward.
The November mosaic had the best pixel scale (0.7 metre) and lighting conditions (72 degrees incidence angle), Pot said.
The November mosaic best shows the field of lightning and extensive debris. The three largest pieces of debris are each about 2x2 pixels and cast a pixel shadow, the statement said.
On October 3, Subramanian, a Chennai-based mechanical engineer, had tagged the handles of Pot , LRO and ISRO in a tweet, asking, "Is this Vikram lander? (1 km from the landing spot) Lander might have been buried in Lunar sand?".
On November 17, he concentrated further on his observations and tweeted the possible site of the landing module accident.
This could be the crash site of the Vikram landing module (Lat: -70.8552 Lon: 21.71233) and the ejection that was expelled could have landed here ... (The one on the left side was taken on July 16 and the other on the right side was September 17), he said in a tweet that accompanied the images.
As it turns out, Subramanian was spot on with his inferences, and now Pot has lauded him for finding the lander.
" Pot has credited me for finding Vikram Lander on Moon 's surface VikramLander Chandrayaan2," Subramanian said in another tweet on Tuesday.
Thank you for your email informing us of your debris discovery of the Vikram landing module. The LROC team confirmed that the location exhibits changes in the images taken before and after the landing date, said Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission project associate scientist John Keller
"Using this information, the LROC team did additional searches in the area and located the site of the primary impact as well as other debris around the impact location and has announced the sighting on the Pot and ASU pages where you have been given credit for your observation," Keller said.
I apologize for the delay in communicating with you. We needed to be sure of our interpretation of the observation and make sure that all interested parties had the opportunity to comment before we could announce the results. Congratulations for what I'm sure was a lot of time and effort on your part, said the scientist in his letter to Subramanian, who shared it on Twitter.
Ever since ISRO lost contact with Vikram, Pot had made several attempts to locate the Chandrayaan-2 lander with the help of its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The LRO flew over the Vikram landing site once on September 17 and then on October 14.
Chandrayaan-2 mission to the Moon launched in July. If the spacecraft had reached the surface in one piece on September 7, India would have been only the fourth country to successfully put a lander on the Moon .