NASA has pinpointed the location of the crashed Vikram Lander from the Chandrayaan-2 mission. The agency posted pictures of the crash site that were taken from an orbiting satellite. The before/after images clearly show the point of impact as well as the scattering of debris.
NASA credits the finding of the Vikram Lander to a Chennai Engineer named Shanmuga Subramanian, who has since posted the letter he got from John Keller, Deputy Project Scientists at the Lunar Orbiter Reconnaissance Mission on Twitter.
Subramanian is not connected to either NASA or ISRO, and simply a space enthusiast who was interested in finding the Vikram Lander.
Vikram Lander was supposed to have made a landing about 600 km from the moon’s south pole on September 6. Unfortunately, the lander lost contact shortly before touchdown.
The Indian government recently admitted that the lander had crashed.
“The first phase of descent was performed nominally from an altitude of 30 km to 7.4 km above the moon surface. During the second phase of descent, the reduction in velocity was more than the designed value. 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 m of the designated landing site,” Jitendra Singh minister of state for the Department of Space said.
Initially ISRO officials stated that Vikram landed on the lunar surface as a single piece, unbroken but in a tilted position following a hard landing. However, with the new information out it seems as though the lander broke apart following a free fall.