A dark, prickly, haloed bloom is tattooed on a distant field of pock-marked desolation: the silent portrait of a thwarted dream. This arresting NASA image, released on December 3, shows the precise spot on the Moon’s surface where Vikram, the lander deployed in India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission, hard-landed in early September.
Vikram went incommunicado shortly before its scheduled touchdown near the lunar south pole. A tense nation watched as the ISRO control room’s mood of cheerful anticipation evaporated. “Despite the loss, getting that close to the surface was an amazing achievement,” NASA said in a statement describing the new images of the Vikram impact site.