On Tuesday, NASA credited a Chennai-based engineer for finding the ‘debris’ of the Vikram Lander and tweeted the findings. Reciprocating to it, K. Sivan, Chief of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), claimed that the Vikram Lander of Chandrayaan-2 had already been spotted by the space agency’s orbiter much ahead of NASA.
Claims by NASA and ISRO
Sivan, while speaking to some reporters stated, “Our own orbiter had located Vikram Lander; we had already declared that on our website, you can go back and see”.
NASA said that its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter located the remains of the Vikram Lander and credited the discovery to a Chennai-based amateur astronomer and engineer Shanmuga Subramanium. ISRO chief’s comments came after NASA’s statement.
According to a statement on ISRO’s website, which dates back to September 10, “Vikram Lander has been located by the orbiter of Chandrayaan-2, but no communication with it yet. All possible efforts are being made to establish communication with Lander”.
On December 3, NASA in a tweet said, “The #Chandrayaan2 Vikram Lander has been found by our @NASAMoon mission, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. See the first mosaic of the impact site”. Along with the tweet they posted images clicked by its Orbiter Camera. The images pointed out the site’s changes on the Moon and differentiated between the impact point before and after the hard-landing on the lunar surface.
The impact spot of the Lander and associated debris field was created by the crash, which was indicated with blue and green dots, respectively.
The statement said, “Green dots indicate spacecraft debris (confirmed or likely). Blue dots locate disturbed soil, likely where small bits of the spacecraft churned up the regolith. “S” indicates debris identified by Shanmuga Subramanian”.
What Was the mission?
Chandrayaan-2 was the most complex mission ever attempted by ISRO. The Lander was carrying a 27kg (59lbs) rover named ‘Pragyan’, which was integrated with instruments to analyze the lunar soil.
The rover had a life span of 14-day and could travel 500m from the Lander. It was to send data and images back to the Earth for analysis. The mission would have aimed at searching for water and minerals on the lunar surface. Even though mission was not successful, it was a matter of national pride.
The Lander Vikram was supposed to soft-land on the far side of the moon at on September 7. The communication with Vikram Lander was lost minutes before its scheduled the landing when it was 2.1 km above the lunar surface.