This Chennai engineer helped NASA find Vikram Lander

NASA credited Shanmuga Subramanian, a Chennai-based engineer for finding the Vikram lander based on images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission

Shanmuga Subramanian, the Chennai engineer who help NASA find the Vikram lander. (Twitter @ramanean)

Comparing before and after images of the Chandrayaan-2 lander Vikram’s impact site on the lunar surface for weeks, Chennai engineer Shanmuga Subramanian helped National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) spot the debris of Chandrayaan-2 lander, Vikram from a mosaic image.

On November 17, he had tweeted the two images, indicating the precise location where Vikram might have crash-landed. “This might be Vikram lander's crash site (Lat:-70.8552 Lon:21.71233 ) & the ejecta that was thrown out of it might have landed over here,” he had posted. 

Although NASA had released the mosaic image of the site on September 26, inviting feedback from the public, Subramanian was the first to respond with a verifiable account of his finding. But before that, he had worked hard, going through the images placed side by side on his laptop. 

Also Read: Chandrayaan 2: NASA finds crashed Vikram Lander

Subramanian, an avid space buff, had first posted his finding on Twitter on October 3. “Is this Vikram lander? (1 km from the landing spot) Lander might have been buried in Lunar sand?.” To support his finding, he had marked the impact site in red, tagging NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

It triggered a big debate, with fellow Twitter users sharing their thoughts. But NASA took its time. The American space agency took two months to study more images of the same site taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, before announcing its verdict. NASA acknowledged and credited Subramanian.

Subramanian’s contribution has made big news even back in the United States. The New York Times quoted an email by him that read: “The crash landing of Vikram rekindled an interest in the moon not only for me and others also. I think even if Vikram had landed and sent some images, we would have never had such interest. For the first few days I was scanning the images randomly and there were lot of false positives.”

 

 

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