The Indian Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft was put into lunar orbit on 20 August. During the mission, the Vikram lander was supposed to target a patch of high ground between two craters, called Simpelius N and Manzinus C, as it attempted a soft-landing on the lunar surface, some 600 kilometers from the south pole, but lost contact with the ground station.
On Monday, NASA posted new images of the Moon’s surface, claiming that the agency had located the “debris field” of the Vikram lander which has been missing since September.
The image released by NASA shows “spacecraft debris (confirmed or likely)”.
NASA has credited Indian Mechanical Engineer Shanmuga Subramanian for positively identifying the debris and reporting to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) project.
Shanmuga Subramanian tweeted a letter he received from NASA, crediting him for his help.
The Chandrayaan 2 was India’s second lunar exploration mission. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost contact with the Vikram lander shortly before the scheduled September touchdown.
The ISRO reportedly intends to send another mission to the Moon by the end of next year, and November is considered by Indian scientists to be the most suitable time for a launch.
In 2008, the Chandrayaan 1 became the first successful Moon mission for the Indian Space Research Organisation.