WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2019 (AFP) – A moon-orbiting satellite found the crash site of the Indian Vikram spacecraft, which crashed in September as it tried to land, NASA said on Monday.
The Goddard Center of the US Space Agency has published images that the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) captured in October and November from a spot where impact marks and scattered remains of the crashed device are distinguished.
Traces are hard to distinguish with the naked eye, but NASA's analysis has found in these pixels about 20 parts and various locations where disturbances are detected on the lunar soil.
An earlier passage of the LRO in this very place had produced a series of images, but at the time the light was not good and NASA had found no trace of Vikram there.
India launched the Chandrayaan-2 mission on July 22. The main spacecraft, which remains in orbit around the moon, detached itself from the Vikram student module days earlier than expected.
When Vikram was 2 km altitude, at the end of the descent, contact was lost.
On September 10, the Indian Space Agency (ISRO) announced that Vikram had been "located" by Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, but without communication and was trying to re-establish contact.
With this project, India was trying to become the fourth country, after the United States, Russia, and China, to successfully place a probe on Earth's satellite and the first to do so on one of the lunar poles.