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India’s crashed Vikram moon lander spotted on lunar surface | Science

A Nasa satellite orbiting the moon has found India’s Vikram lander, which crashed on the lunar surface in September, the US space agency said on Monday.

Nasa released an image taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that showed the site of the spacecraft’s impact and associated debris field, with parts scattered over almost two dozen locations spanning several kilometres.

In a statement, Nasa said it had released a mosaic image of the site on 26 September, inviting the public to search it for signs of the lander.

It added that a person named Shanmuga Subramanian contacted the LRO project with a positive identification of debris – with the first piece found about 750 metres north-west of the main crash site.

Blasting off in July, emerging Asian giant India had hoped with its Chandrayaan-2 (“moon vehicle 2”) mission to become just the fourth country after the US, Russia and regional rival China to make a successful moon landing, and the first on the lunar south pole.

An artist’s illustration of the Vikram moon lander.

An artist’s illustration of the Vikram moon lander. Photograph: Isro Handout/EPA

The main spacecraft, which remains in orbit around the moon, dropped the unmanned lander Vikram for a descent that would take five days, but the probe went silent just 2.1km above the surface.

Days after the failed landing, the Indian Space Research Organization said it had located the lander, but had not been able to establish communication.


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