Publicado: Mier, Diciembre 04, 2019
Ciencia | Por Aurelio Ontiveros

NASA finds missing Indian moon lander - with some help

NASA finds missing Indian moon lander - with some help

A mechanical engineer from Chennai, Subramanian is quite actively engaged in developing cloud native applications and providing software quality assurances.

NASA got its first clue from Shanmuga Subramanian, a 33-year-old IT architect in Chennai, India, who told Al Jazeera that after five nights of searching NASA's lunar images pixel-by-pixel, and with some help from his Twitter followers, he positively identified a piece of the spacecraft.

"Shanmuga Subramanian contacted the LRO project with positive identification of debris".

Speaking to ThePrint, Shanmuga Subramanian said after NASA released the first image, he found the expected coordinates on ISRO's live stream of the attempted soft landing and social news aggregation platform Reddit. It further stated that the LROC team released the first mosaic (images acquired on September 17) of the site on September 26, and many people had downloaded the images to search for signs of Vikram. Vikram went missing on September 6 as it approached the Moon's south pole, where it had planned to land in order to confirm the presence of water ice, where the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost contact with the machine. In the final images shared by NASA, green dots likely indicate the spacecraft debris and blue dots locate the disturbed soil, likely where small bits of the spacecraft churned up the lunar soil. The actual discovery, however, has been credited to an amateur, Shanmuga Subramanian.

Shanmuga Subramanian, the eagle-eyed citizen space scientist who found Vikram Moon lander said on Tuesday that he took spotting it as a challenge when NASA couldn't.

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The Vikram lander separated from the mission's orbiter on September 2 and began a series of braking maneuvers to lower its orbit and ready itself for landing.

"It took days of work to find the crash site", Shanmugham said.

In an email posted to Twitter, LROC deputy project scientist John Keller left no doubt the dot Mr Subramanian saw was part of a lunar crash zone.

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. Though hard to make out, the new photos show the craft's impact crater and wreckage scattered across several kilometers of the lunar surface. "The November picture was enough for NASA to declare that they have found the debris of Vikram Lander", the engineer told reporters at his Adayar house in south Chennai. "I did send a tweet to NASA and ISRO. We apologise for the delay in getting back to you as we needed to be certain of our interpretation as well as making sure that all stakeholders had an opportunity to comment before we could announce the results". ISRO Chief had dubbed these last few minutes before touchdown as "15 minutes of terror" and unfortunately, just moments before the landing, ISRO lost communication with the lander.

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