A revolutionary day for the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation). Following the Vikram rover landing, India would have become the fourth in the world to do a soft landing on Moon; only it didn’t.
The Chandrayaan-2 moon exploration mission’s moon lander lost contact with Earth just before the landing.
At that time, ISRO was still assessing the situation since no one knew what really happened during the touchdown. The speculation was Vikram crashed but ISRO never confirmed it.
Today, India’s space agency finally has some answers and, probably, a closure for ones who are still shocked about the incident.
Vikram Hard Landed
In response to a lawmaker’s query, ISRO confirmed that Chandrayaan-2 Vikram lander crashed in the attempt to land on the moon.
“Vikram hard landed within 500 m of the designated landing site,” writes the Department of Space.
In the report, the agency explained that the reduction velocity of the rover was “more than the designed parameters” due to which Vikram’s breaking thrusters malfunctioned.
The report also says that everything else was more than fine. All the scientific instruments were functioning “as per the design and providing valuable scientific data.”
In fact, the launch and orbital maneuvers were so close to perfect, that “the mission life of the Orbiter is increased to 7 years.”
The importance of Chandrayaan-2
Chandrayaan-2 was India’s second lunar mission since the first one back in 2008. Naturally, everyone had high hopes from the mission.
Not just that, one of the primary goals of ISRO’s mission was to explore the south pole of the moon, which remains unexplored.
Chandryaan-2 was also an important breakthrough because of its low cost. The entire project cost Rs 978 crore, much less than similar Moon-bound missions conducted by other countries.
What happens now?
Well, the bright side is Chandryaan-3 is in the making. The scientists are taking a pool of recommendations which they weren’t able to apply on the Chandrayaan-2. The moon exploration mission is given a deadline of November 2020.
The failures of Chandrayaan-2 might be disheartening, but ISRO has no plans to back down. As Henry Ford, the founder of Ford once said,
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”