A space enthusiast from Chennai detected debris from India's Vikram moonlander and informed United States space agency NASA about his finding which it confirmed on Tuesday.
For about three months scientists had been trying to locate Vikram, part of India's second moon mission Chandrayaan-2, after it crash landed on the moon's surface and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost contact with it.
Mr Shanmuga Subramanian (above), who made the discovery, told IANS: "It was something challenging as even NASA couldn't locate the lander. That's the thought that led me to search for Vikram."
He looked for it in the images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbital (LRO) Camera that it releases to the public and found debris from Vikram in a Nov 11 photo.
LRO project scientist Noah Petro told IANS: "He went through the image, looking pixel by pixel and found that spot."
However, a day after Nasa announced it had located Vikram's debris, ISRO chief K. Sivan said the Indian space agency had already located it earlier. "Our own orbiter had located Vikram Lander, we had already declared that on our website," he said.
ISRO's website has an entry dated Sept 10 that reads: "Vikram lander has been located by the orbiter of Chandrayaan-2, but no communication with it yet." ISRO, however, hadn't made the images public.
Indo-Asian News Service