NASA satellite finds crashed Indian Moon lander Vikram

NASA satellite finds crashed Indian Moon lander Vikram
This handout image released by NASA, and taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team, shows the Vikram Lander impact point [AFP]

A NASA satellite orbiting the Moon has found India’s Vikram lander which crashed on the lunar surface in September, the United States space agency said on Monday.

NASA released an image taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that showed the site of the spacecraft’s impact (September 6 in India and September 7 in the US) and 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, inviting the public to search it for signs of the lander.

It added that a person named Shanmuga Subramanian contacted the LRO project with positive identification of debris – with the first piece found about 750 metres northwest of the main crash site.

Blasting off in July, emerging Asian giant India had hoped with its Chandrayaan-2 (Moon Vehicle 2) mission to become just the fourth country after the US, Russia and regional rival China to make a successful Moon landing and the first on the lunar south pole.

The main spacecraft, which remains in orbit around the Moon, dropped the unmanned lander Vikram for a descent that would take five days, but the probe went silent just 2.1 kilometres (1.3 miles) above the surface.

Days after the failed landing, the Indian Space Research Organisation said it had located the lander but had not been able to establish communication.

AFP news agency

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