This before and after image ratio highlights changes to the surface; the impact point is near center of the image and stands out due the dark rays and bright outer halo. Note the dark streak and debris about 100 meters to the south-southeast of the impact point. Diagonal straight lines are uncorrected background artifacts. Credits: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University
An Indian software developer and mechanical engineer combing through high-resolution imagery captured by a NASA spacecraft has located debris scattered on the lunar surface in September by the crash of the Vikram lander, India’s first probe to attempt a a soft touchdown on the moon, NASA said Monday.
A camera mounted on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has recorded images of the Vikram spacecraft’s target landing site since Indian ground controllers lost contact with probe Sept. 6 during final descent to the moon.
The robotic Vikram lander was descending toward a landing zone around 373 miles (600 kilometers) from the moon’s south pole. With Vikram, India aimed to become the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the moon.
But engineers at the Indian Space Research Organization’s mission control center lost communication with Vikram moments before landing, when the probe was just ...