03-12-201903-12-2019 12:31:22 IST
2019-12-03T07:01:22.556Z03-12-2019 2019-12-03T07:01:17.282Z - - 06-12-2019
Months after ISRO lost contact with Chandrayaan-2's Vikram moon lander a Chennai based techie and an astronomy enthusiast has found the debris and was credited for the same by NASA after he alerted the US space agency of his discovery.
33-year-old Shanmuga Subramanian found the debris of Vikram lander which the scientists have been trying to find for quite some time. "It was something challenging as even NASA can’t find out so why can’t we try out? And that’s the thought that led me to search for Vikram lander," Shanmuga Subramanian, who made the discovery, told IANS on Tuesday.
Subramanian used the images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbital (LRO) Camera that the US space agency had released to the public.
LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro told IANS: “The story of this really amazing individual (who) found it, helped us find it, is really awesome.”
He added that Subramanian "is totally independent of the LRO, totally independent of the Chandraayan 2 team, just someone who is very interested in the Chandraayan 2 mission (who) used our data and identified a spot where there was a change that we had not identified."
"He went through the image, looking pixel by pixel and found that spot," Petro said explaining about the discovery.
Subramanian, who works in Chennai as a software architect said that he did the research in his spare time as he was really passionate about the subject.
NASA had released a mosaic image of the suspected crash area on September 26 and invited the people to compare it with images of the same area before the crash.
Subramaniam was the first person to come up with positive identification. He said NASA's inability to find the lander on its own had sparked his interest.
"I had side-by-side comparison of those two images on two of my laptops... on one side there was the old image, and another side there was the new image released by NASA," he told news agency AFP, adding he was helped by fellow Twitter and Reddit users.
"It was quite hard, but (I) spent some effort," said the self-professed space nerd, finally announcing his discovery on Twitter on October 3.
NASA then performed additional searches in the area and officially announced the finding almost two months later.
Petro said that he and the LRO camera team head received an email from Subramanian about his finding and that was used to help identify the spot where Vikram crashed.
The Arizona State University (ASU), where the LROC project is located, said: "After receiving this tip the LROC team confirmed the identification by comparing before and after images."
"The debris first located by Shanmuga is about 750 meters northwest of the main crash site," ASU said.
Vikram had lost contact with ISRO after its launch from Chandrayaan 2 on September 6 while attempting a soft landing near moon's south pole.
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