Thanks but no thanks: Indian space chief rebuffs claims it was NASA who ‘found’ crashed Vikram Moon lander first
The head of India’s space agency says the wreckage of its lunar lander and rover was actually located several months before NASA announced it found it.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief, Kailasavadivoo Sivan, did not seem too impressed with NASA’s claim that it located the crash site of the nation’s first ever Moon lander, the Vikram.
“We don’t want to tell anything on this one. After the landing date itself, our website had given that our own orbiter has located Vikram,” Sivan told reporters on Wednesday.
We have already declared that on our website. You can go back and see.
Launched as part of the ambitious Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission, the Vikram was about to land on the Moon’s South Pole on September 7. Communication with the lander was lost during descent and it crashed with a lunar rover on board.
The ISRO sent out a tweet just a couple of days later that the Vikram crash site was located, but there was still no signal from the lander. The announcement received little attention at the time.
It was a different story when NASA declared on Monday that it had found Vikram’s debris on the lunar surface. The announcement immediately made headlines across the globe as the agency published a set of images taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).Also on rt.com Did you lose this? NASA spots wreckage from India’s Vikram lunar lander
The LRO team had previously published high-resolution images of the area on September 26, saying that the lighting conditions would likely help to spot the lander next month. The images were downloaded by many space enthusiasts, and Indian-based engineer Shanmuga Subramanian managed to identify the crash site.
Our @LRO_NASA mission imaged the targeted landing site of India’s Chandrayaan-2 lander, Vikram. The images were taken at dusk, and the team was not able to locate the lander. More images will be taken in October during a flyby in favorable lighting. More: https://t.co/1bMVGRKslppic.twitter.com/kqTp3GkwuM— NASA (@NASA) 26 сентября 2019 г.
Subramanian initially tweeted about his discovery to both NASA and ISRO. He later told NDTV that he then sent emails to “a couple of NASA scientists” and “got a good response from them.”
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!