Chandrayaan-2: NASA satellite finds crashed Indian Moon lander

Chandrayaan 2 Vikram landers impact site extensive debris field found in images taken by NASAs lunar orbiter

Vikram lander's ejecta as seen by LRO's camera. Image NASA

Vikram was part of India's Chandrayaan-2 mission to send an orbiter, lander, and rover to the Moon's surface.

A major moon mystery has now been solved.

In a huge development, the United States space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has confirmed that it has located the Vikram lander of Chandrayaan 2 mission on the lunar surface. However, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had lost contact with their lander shortly before the scheduled touchdown on September 7.

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 nearly two dozen locations spanning several kilometers.

Scientists and amateurs alike have spent months combing through images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter looking for the remains of India's moon lander - and that search has paid off.

The LRO team was finally able to locate the lander's debris field with the help of some sharp eyes. The green dots indicate confirmed or likely spacecraft debris and blue dots show where the soil was disturbed by the impact. But in that image, someone named Shanmuga Subramanian spotted one extraordinarily bright pixel and reached out to the LROC team, according to a NASA statement released today. A fresh flyby on November 11 gave a better look at the crash site.

An image combining before and after photographs of the Vikram impact site highlights the dark inner and light outer materials splaying out from the impact. The orbiter is now in full operation.

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