There will be new dawn, brighter tomorrow: PM
BENGALURU, Sept 7: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today said till date 90 to 95 per cent of the Chandrayaan-2 mission objectives have been accomplished and it would continue contributing to Lunar science despite the loss of communication with the Lander.
The space agency also said the precise launch and mission management had ensured a long life of almost seven years instead of the planned one year for the orbiter.
India’s bold mission to soft-land on moon suffered a setback during the wee hours today, with Chandrayaan-2’s ‘Vikram’ module losing communication with ground stations, just 2.1 km from the lunar surface during its final descent.
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“The Vikram Lander followed the planned descent trajectory from its orbit of 35 km to just below 2 km above the surface.
All the systems and sensors of the Lander functioned excellently until this point and proved many new technologies such as variable thrust propulsion technology used in the Lander,” ISRO said in an update.
The success criteria was defined for each and every phase of the mission and till date 90 to 95 per cent of the mission’s objectives have been accomplished and it would continue contributing to Lunar science , notwithstanding the loss of communication with the Lander, it said.
The successful landing would have made India the fourth country after Russia, the US and China to achieve a soft landing on the moon, also the first to launch a mission to the unexplored south pole of the Moon.
Pointing out that the orbiter has already been placed in its intended orbit around the Moon, ISRO said,
“It shall enrich our understanding of the moons evolution and mapping of the minerals and water molecules in the Polar Regions, using its eight state-of-the-art scientific instruments.”
“The orbiter camera is the highest resolution camera (0.3m) in any lunar mission so far and shall provide high resolution images which will be immensely useful to the global scientific community,” it said, adding that the precise launch and mission management has ensured a long life of almost 7 years instead of the planned one year.
The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is healthy and safe in the Lunar orbit, an ISRO official had said after the Vikram Lander lost contact with ground stations minutes before the touchdown on Moon’s surface.
Stating that Chandrayaan-2 mission was a highly complex mission, which represented a significant technological leap compared to the previous missions of ISRO, the space agency said it brought together an Orbiter, Lander and Rover to explore the unexplored south pole of the Moon.
Since the launch of Chandrayaan-2 on July 22, not only India but the whole world watched its progress from one phase to the next with great expectations and excitement, it said.
This was a unique mission which aimed at studying not just one area of the Moon but all the areas combining the exosphere (outermost layer of the earth’s atmosphere), the surface as well as the sub-surface of the moon in a single mission, it added.
Meanwhile, after a pep talk to scientists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today gave a long and tight hug to an emotional ISRO chief K Sivan, who was in tears, unable to come to terms over lander Vikram’s unsuccessful bid to soft land on the moon.
The video of Modi hugging Sivan has gone viral on social media with netizens dubbing it as the hug of over a billion Indians and heaping praises on both.
Renowned personalities too could not stop themselves from hailing the Prime Minister’s kind gesture.
Modi, in his address at the ISRO centre here, asked the scientists not to get disheartened by the hurdles in the lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 and asserted that there will be a “new dawn”.
No sooner than the prime minister concluded his address, Sivan accompanied him to see him off.
At this juncture, the prime minister, who was on his way to get into his car, gave him a “reassuring” and tight hug, lending his shoulder to teary-eyed Sivan.
The prime minister embraced Sivan as he made no secret of his deep disappointment as the ambitious venture did not pan out as intended.
Modi also said in his address that the country’s determination to land on the moon has become even stronger.
“We came very close, but we need to cover more ground…Learnings from today will make us stronger and better,” he told the scientists, adding, “The best is yet to come in our space programme. India is with you.”
Earlier, Sivan, who his colleagues say is a task-master but a simple and genial individual, announced — his voice choking — that the lander had lost communication with the ground stations, and the data was being analysed.
The Prime Minister was present at the ISRO centre to witness the touchdown early today and returned less than six hours later to address scientists and the nation at 8 am.
The soft landing of lander Vikram did not go according to ISRO’s plan as it lost contact with the ground stations.
Modi’s fatherly pat moved Sivan too.
Hours after the Prime Minister consoling him, the ISRO chief joined the Twitter world by creating an account and shared the photograph of the emotional moment with the PM on his Twitter handle.
“Thank you very much for visiting ISRO,” Sivan said.
The prime minister’s kind gesture won many accolades across the globe with people appreciating him for boosting the morale of the ISRO team, especially Sivan and widely shared his video.
The Prime Minister of Bhutan Lotay Tshering tweeted, “We are proud of India and its scientists today. Chandrayaan-2 saw some challenges last minute but the courage and hard work you have shown are historical.
Knowing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I have no doubt he and his ISRO team will make it happen one day.”
Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan said, “Moon is 3,84,400 kms and we failed at 2.1 KM that’s 0.0005463% of margin. Even this failure is a foundation for new beginnings.
Even this failure has a taste of success in it. Kudos to our Scientists and ISRO,” he said in a tweet.
Modi delivered a message of optimism, solidarity and hope to scientists in an address, which was broadcast live, seeking to rally the nation around the Indian Space Research Organisation, hours after it announced it had lost communication with the lander.
The nation is proud of them and stands with them, he said.
“We came very close but we need to cover more ground in the times to come. Learning from today will make us stronger and better. The nation is proud of our space programme and scientists. The best is yet to come in our space programme. There are new frontiers to discover and new places to go. India is with you,” Modi said.
“Effort was worth it and so was the journey. It will make us stronger and better. There will be a new dawn and brighter tomorrow very soon… I am with you, nation is with you,” he added.
Praising the scientists, he said they ventured where no one previously went and India is proud of each and every one of them, and expressed confidence that they will achieve success in the next attempt.
The Prime Minister sought to lighten the mood in the moments of disappointment for scientists, saying the moon has been so much romanticised in poems and literature that Chandrayaan in its last steps ran to embrace it, a reference to Vikram’s failure to lower its speed as planned during its descent to the lunar surface.
This is how poets will describe it, he said, adding the will to touch the moon has now become stronger and more intense.
Modi watched the proceedings at an ISRO centre here as the lander began its descent.
The Prime Minister began his near 25-minute speech, delivered in a mix of Hindi and English, with “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” (Hail Mother India) slogan, and said he could understand the feelings of scientists when it became clear that Chandrayaan-2’s final journey did not go as per plan.
“Your eyes said a lot and I could read the sadness on your face. I have lived those moments with you,” he said, adding that this was why he did not stay for long with them in the early hours and came back in the morning, not to preach them but to be inspired by them.
“When the message of communication cut-off with the mission was received, you were all shaken,” Modi said, as he sought to lift their morale, asserting it will strengthen their resolve for future successes.
Modi also recalled a number of ISRO’s successful missions, including the one for Mars, to assert that there is no failure in science but only experiments and efforts.
There will be many more opportunities to be proud of and rejoice, he said, adding that ISRO scientists do now draw lines on a butter cake but on stone.
“You came as close as you could, look ahead,” he said.
There have been disappointing moments in the past but they have not crushed our spirits, he said, adding that “the effort was worth it and so was the journey”.
He called ISRO an “encyclopaedia of successes” and said a few moments of halt cannot push its flight “out of trajectory” and that no hindrance can stop India from realising its dreams and aspiration in the 21st century. (PTI)
Half of lunar missions failed
Only half of the lunar missions involving landing on moon surface have succeeded in the last six decades, according to NASA.
There have been a total of 109 lunar missions from 1958, out of which 61 were successful, says the US space agency’s ‘Moon Fact Sheet’.
As many as 46 missions involved landing on the lunar surface, including landing of the rover and sample return. Out of these 21 were successful, while two were partially successful.
Sample return means mission that involves collecting and returning samples to earth. The first successful sample return mission was Apollo 12 of the US launched in November 1969.
In the early hours of Saturday, Indian space agency ISRO’s plan to soft land Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram module on the lunar surface did not go as per script.
The lander lost communication with ground stations during its final descent, ISRO officials said, adding that the orbiter of Chandrayaan-2 — second lunar mission — remains healthy and safe.
This year, Israel, too, launched its lunar mission Beresheet in February 2018 but it crash landed in April.
In 2008, India had launched Chandrayaan-1 which had an orbiter and an impactor. One of achievements of the mission was discovery of water molecules on the moon.
The maiden mission to the moon was planned by the US in August 17, 1958, but the launch of Pioneer 0 was unsuccessful.
The first successful mission to the moon was Luna 1 by the USSR on January 4, 1959. It was also the first ‘Moon flyby’ mission. The success had come only in the sixth mission.
From 1958 to 1979, only the US and the USSR (now Russia) launched Moon missions. In these 21 years, the two countries launched 90 missions. There was a lull in the decade that followed with no lunar missions from 1980-89.
Japan, the European Union, China, India and Israel have been late entrants.
The countries have launched different lunar missions — orbiters, landers and flyby (orbiting the moon, landing on the moon and flying by the moon respectively).
In a span of a little more than a year, from August 1958 to November 1959, the US and the USSR launched 14 missions. Only three — Luna 1, Luna 2 and Luna 3 — were successful. All were launched by the USSR.
The Ranger 7 mission launched in July 1964 by the US was the first to take close-up pictures of the moon.
The first lunar soft landing and first pictures from the lunar surface came from Luna 9, launched by the USSR in January 1966.
Five months later, in May 1966, the US successfully launched a similar mission Surveyor-1.
The Apollo 11 mission was the landmark mission through which humans first stepped on the lunar surface. The three-crew mission was headed by Neil Armstrong.
Japan launched Hiten, an orbiter mission in January 1990. This was also Japan’s first Moon mission. After that, in September 2007, Japan launched Selene, another orbiter mission.
There were six lunar missions from 2000-2009 — Europe (Smart-1), Japan (Selene), China (Chang’e 1), India (Chandrayaan-1) and the US (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and LCCROSS).
From 2009-2019, ten missions have been launched of which five have been sent by China, three by the US, and one each by India and Israel.
Since 1990, the US, Japan, India, the European Union, China and Israel launched 19 lunar missions. (PTI)