India’s ambitious lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 suffered a major setback on Friday night. The lander ‘Vikram’ lost communication with base stations just moments before the landing on the Moon’s surface.
Things were fine till the lander reached 2.1 km above the moon’s surface, ISRO chief K Sivan said.
Experts say the mission is far from failure.
“Only 5 per cent of the mission has been lost – Vikram, the lander, and Pragyan, the rover. The remaining 95 per cent, that is the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter, is orbiting the moon successfully,” an ISRO official told India Today.
Even writer and managing editor of NASA Spaceflight Chris G agreed saying that the orbiter is where 95 per cent of the experiments take place.
The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft consisted of three segments:
– Orbiter (weighing 2,379 kg, eight payloads)
– ‘Vikram’ (1,471 kg, four payloads)
– ‘Pragyan’ (27 kg, two payloads).
The Orbiter can also take photographs of the lander, reported ISRO officials.
India would have been the 4th country to soft land on the moon had it been successful.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed ISRO’s scientists saying “resilience and tenacity are central to India’s ethos” and “as important as the final result is the journey and the effort. I can proudly say that the effort was worth it and so was the journey. Our team worked hard, travelled far and those teachings will always remain with us. The learnings from today will make us stronger and better.”
The PM reportedly hugged an emotional ISRO chief K Sivan.