The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief, Kailasavadivoo Sivan, did not seem too impressed with NASA’s claim that it located the crash site of the nation’s first ever Moon lander, the Vikram.
“We don’t want to tell anything on this one. After the landing date itself, our website had given that our own orbiter has located Vikram,” Sivan told reporters on Wednesday.
We have already declared that on our website. You can go back and see.
Launched as part of the ambitious Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission, the Vikram was about to land on the Moon’s South Pole on September 7. Communication with the lander was lost during descent and it crashed with a lunar rover on board.
The ISRO sent out a tweet just a couple of days later that the Vikram crash site was located, but there was still no signal from the lander. The announcement received little attention at the time.
It was a different story when NASA declared on Monday that it had found Vikram’s debris on the lunar surface. The announcement immediately made headlines across the globe as the agency published a set of images taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).
The LRO team had previously published high-resolution images of the area on September 26, saying that the lighting conditions would likely help to spot the lander next month. The images were downloaded by many space enthusiasts, and Indian-based engineer Shanmuga Subramanian managed to identify the crash site.
Subramanian initially tweeted about his discovery to both NASA and ISRO. He later told NDTV that he then sent emails to “a couple of NASA scientists” and “got a good response from them.”