In September India lost contact with its Vikram landerjust a mile above the Moon’s surface, and now NASA hasconfirmedphotos taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show where it impacted. The actual discovery, however, has been credited to an amateur, Shanmuga Subramanian. As theNew York Timesreported, he is an Indian programmer and mechanical engineer whonoted subtle differences in before / after mosaic photosback in October.
The debris kicked up by the impact was small enough that it’s barely recognizable in the orbiter’s resolution. According to NASA, the debris Shanmuga found is about 750 m from the main crash site. Last week the ISRO said Vikram crashed within 500 m of its intended landing point, but didn’t release any pictures. The crash was apparently due to a problem with its braking thrusters, although the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft that released it is still operational and orbiting the moon, collecting data.