Dec 3, 2019

NASA finds India's crashed Moon lander

Miriam Kramer, author of Space

A before/after showing the Vikram lander's crash site. Gif: NASA/Goddard/ASU

The final resting place of India's failed lunar lander has been found.

The big picture: The Vikram lander was India's bid to become the fourth nation to land and operate a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. The mission failed on Sept. 6 when a thruster issue caused the lander to crash not long before its expected touchdown.

What's happening: On Sept. 26, NASA released a mosaic image taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter that included Vikram's presumed crash site.

  • NASA credits engineer Shanmuga Subramanian with tipping off the space agency to the location of the Vikram's debris after examining the mosaic.
  • "After receiving this tip, the LROC [Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera] team confirmed the identification by comparing before and after images," NASA said in a statement Monday night.

Background: Vikram wasn't the only lunar lander to fail this year. Israel's Beresheet spacecraft also crashed into the Moon during its attempt at a landing.

  • China, on the other hand, became the first country to land on the far side of the Moon with its successful landing of the Chang'e-4 lander in January.

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