New Delhi: "I found Vikram Lander!" reads the new Twitter bio of Shanmuga Subramanian, the Chennai-based mechanical engineer who alerted the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) about the presence of debris of Chandrayaan-2, India's ambitious moon mission, launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The NASA has credited Subramanian, 33, with the find, a picture of which he posted on his Twitter account. "NASA has credited me for finding Vikram Lander on moon's surface," he wrote.
— NASA (@NASA) December 2, 2019
The site was located by Subramanian, who on his own scoured the pictures taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbital Camera (LROC), NASA and Arizona State University (ASU) announced on Monday confirming the find.
"The debris first located by Shanmuga is about 750 meters northwest of the main crash site," the ASU, where the LROC project is located, said in a statement.
The first mosaic image of the likely crash site made from pictures taken by the LROC on September 17 was downloaded by several people to look for signs of the Vikram, NASA said. One of them, Subramanian, contacted the LROC project with a positive identification of debris.
"After receiving this tip the LROC team confirmed the identification by comparing before and after images," the ASU said.
When the images for the first mosaic were acquired on September 17, the impact point was poorly illuminated and could not easily be identified. But two image sequences were acquired on October 14 and 15, and on November 11 were better. The university said that based on Subramanian's tip, the LROC team scoured the surrounding area in the new mosaics and found the impact site and the debris field. The impact site is located at 70.8810 degree S, 22.7840 degrees E, at an elevation of 834 metres.
Images of the early findings were first tweeted by Subramanian on October 3 and then on November 17 and in both his posts, he tagged NASA. In the first tweet, he asked "Is this Vikram Lander?" and in the second, he stated, "This might be Vikram lander's crash site."
@NASA @LRO_NASA @isro
This might be Vikram lander's crash site (Lat:-70.8552 Lon:21.71233 ) & the ejecta that was thrown out of it might have landed over here https://t.co/8uKZv7oXQa (The one on the left side was taken on July 16th & one on the right side was from Sept 17) pic.twitter.com/WNKOUy2mg1
— Shan (@Ramanean) November 17, 2019
Vikram Lander lost contact with the ISRO following its launch from Chandraayan-2 moon orbiter on September 6 when it tried to make a soft landing near the moon's south pole.