BENGALURU: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday finally officially admitted that Chandrayaan-2’s lander Vikram was "in pieces" on the Moon’s surface, even as the space agency's chief K Sivan congratulated the Chennai-based techie who alerted NASA to the precise site where the lander had crashed.
On being persistently asked by the media on Wednesday why ISRO was not being transparent about the fate of the lander as the entire nation was waiting with bated breath for a successful landing, Sivan finally said, "Yes, yes...it is in pieces...!"
Ironically, even days after the lander crashed on the Moon’s surface with rover Pragyan in its belly, ISRO scientists continued maintaining that the "hard-landing" lander was "in one piece" but in a tilted position.
Even a scientist privately insisted that he had seen the pictures taken by Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and that the lander was in one piece. Sivan also congratulated the 33-year-old Chennai-based amateur space scientist and software engineer Shanmuga Subramanian, who had studied the pictures of probable crash sites near the designated landing site.
The young man studied pictures taken on September 17 by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter before the landing scheduled on September 7 and after the failed attempt taken ten days later, and noticed the difference in markings on the lunar surface.
There were patches spread across a few kilometres on the lunar surface, suggesting "something" had
"crashed" there. He alerted the NASA top brass about his findings, and the American space scientists
confirmed that there was "disturbance" on the lunar surface, mostly because of lander Vikram’s crash.
This negated ISRO’s version claimed to be based on pictures taken by Chandrayaan-2 orbiter that the lander was in "one piece".For days after the Chennai techie’s revelations were confirmed, ISRO had maintained a tight-lipped silence on the matter - until now, with Sivan’s admission.
ISRO chief, when questioned about the lack of transparency, said that there was a "strategic reason" for that.