Vikram Lander: NASA acknowledged his work and said that Shanmuga located the debris around 750 metres northwest of the main crash site.
On the wee hours of December 03, American space agency tweeted that it has spotted ISRO’s Vikram lander on the lunar surface and released an image showing scattered debris in a vast region. NASA acknowledged the contribution of Chennai-based IT professional Shanmuga Subramanian in finding the Vikram Lander. In a statement, NASA said that they released a mosaic image, taken on September 17, of Vikram’s landing site on September 26 and asked the general public to compare it with the earlier images of the same region and find signs of a crash and Vikram lander. It was Chennai-based techie Shanmuga Subramanian who successfully identified the crash-site of Vikram lander. He did so by comparing it with earlier images of the south polar region of the moon where Vikram lander was designed to land.
Shanmuga Subramanian tweeted from his twitter account @Ramanean that NASA has credited him for finding Vikram Lander on Moon’s surface. In his earlier tweet on October 3, Shanmuga or Shan, as his Twitter bio reads, tweeted two before and after images and compared them encircling Vikram lander’s crash site. “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,” Shanmuga added.
— Shan (@Ramanean) December 2, 2019
@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
NASA acknowledged his work and said that Shanmuga located the debris around 750 metres northwest of the main crash site. “It was a single bright pixel identification in that first mosaic,” NASA added. Using Shanmuga’s tip, NASA’s LROC team confirmed the identification of Vikram’s exact crash-site by comparing the before and after images.
NASA’s LROC team scanned the region in these new mosaics and located a spray of debris emanating outwards around 2,500 feet to the southeast of the designated touchdown site.
Talking to news agency ANI Shan said that he downloaded NASA’s mosaic image from its blog and compared it with earlier images of the region and “was able to find something that was out of ordinary.” ” I thought this might be the debris as it was not there in earlier images. I tweeted to NASA on October 03 and mailed them on October 18. I got confirmation from NASA Tuesday morning and I was very elated to receive that email because I spent a lot of time on that image each day,” Shanmuga said.
#WATCH “I was able to find something out of the ordinary in a particular spot,so,I thought this must be the debris;This should inspire lot of people,”S Subramanian,an amateur astronomer from Chennai who has discovered debris of Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram Lander on surface of the moon pic.twitter.com/BuLeQzKIkP
— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2019
“There is no particular methodology you can follow. The landing site was on a particular area and the Vikram lander came from the northern side, all this information is publicly available. The last data Vikram transmitted was at 2.1 km from the surface and communication was lost around one-kilometre altitude so we concluded that if it has to be there it has to be in around 2 km area of the intended landing location and I concentrated all my efforts in that region,” Shanmuga said.
He said that there was no feedback from ISRO and he contacted both NASA and ISRO on Twitter. “But I did send an email to NASA as well on October 18, maybe that did the trick. NASA can reply more on this,” Shanmuga added.
Confirming Shanmuga’s work NASA sent a thank you mail to him reading “Thank you for your email informing us of your discovery of debris from the Vikram lander. The LROC team confirmed that the location does exhibit changes in images taken before and after the date of the landing.” NASA’s letter was signed by Deputy project scientist Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission John Keller.
“Using this information, the LROC team did additional searches in the area and located the site of the primary impact as well as other debris around the impact location and has announced the sighting on the NASA and ASU pages where you have been given credit for your observation,” Keller said. “I apologise for the delay in getting back to you. We needed to be certain of our interpretation of the observation as well as making sure that all stakeholders had an opportunity to comment before we could announce the results. Congratulations on what I am sure was a lot of time and effort on your part,” the scientist in his letter to Subramanian who shared it on Twitter.