A The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) satellite orbiting the Moon has found India’s Vikram lander which crashed on the lunar surface in September, according to a news agency.
India lost contact with its Vikram lander just a mile above the Moon’s surface, and now NASA has confirmed photos taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show where it impacted.
The actual discovery, however, has been credited to an amateur, Shanmuga Subramanian.
The crash was apparently due to a problem with its braking thrusters, although the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft that released it is still operational and orbiting the moon, collecting data.
— NASA (@NASA) December 2, 2019
According to reports, he is an Indian programmer and mechanical engineer who noted subtle differences in before/after mosaic photos back in October.
A version of the picture was marked up to show the associated debris field, with parts scattered over almost two dozen locations spanning several kilometres.
In a statement, NASA said it released a mosaic image of the site on September 26 (but taken on September 17), inviting the public to compare it with images of the same area before the crash to find signs of the lander.
The first person to come up with a positive identification was Shanmuga “Shan” Subramanian, an IT professional from Chennai, who told that NASA’s inability to find the lander on its own had sparked his interest.
NASA then performed additional searches in the area and officially announced the finding almost two months later.