ISRO remains tight-lipped on Chennai engineer's discovery of Chandrayaan 2's Vikram lander 

ISRO Chairman Sivan and Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre director S Somanath couldn't be contacted however, sources said was informed by NASA about the findings before it went public.

Published: 03rd December 2019 08:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd December 2019 08:41 PM   |  A+A-

Vikram lander

Chandrayaan 2's lander Vikram videos Animation by ISRO (Youtube Screen grab / ISRO)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: ISRO officials have remained tight-lipped throughout Tuesday even as social media was going gala about a Chennai techie, Shanmugam Subramanian who was credited by NASA for tipping-off about Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander debris site on Moon's surface.

Efforts to contact ISRO Chairman Sivan and Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) director S Somanath for comments went in vain.

However, sources told Express that ISRO was informed by NASA about the findings before it went public.

ALSO READ: Chennai engineer spotted Vikram lander debris just a month after crash landing, confirms NASA

John Keller, deputy project scientist, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, said the space agency has taken time to interpret as well as made sure that all stakeholders had an opportunity to comment before
they would announce the results, which implied it had informed ISRO beforehand.

But, few ISRO scientists are questioning the claim. A senior scientist, who analysed the before and after images of crash landing site of Vikram shared by NASA, said: "An object of 800 kgs moving at a
speed of 530 km per hour would have created a crater on impact. If you zoom into the images NASA shared I don't see any new dent. The surface area where it supposedly crashed has fine sand. The impact should have created a dent. I can see only change in colour. The white speck what they are calling Vikram lander debris can be anything," the scientist told Express on the condition of anonymity.

The truth will be out when Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter High-Resolution Camera (OHRC), which has a ground resolution of 0.32 metres, scans the debris site.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has passed over the mission’s intended landing site, on a high plain near the south pole, several times since September. But initial analyses of the images did not reveal an obvious impact scar comparable to the Beresheet lander launched by Israel this year, which crashed in April.

NASA scientists noted that the spacecraft might have been hidden in the shadows.


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