Indian space scientists devastated after moon landing fails
Indias prime minister has been consoling space scientists after a historic moon landing mission went awry.
Isro (Indian Space Research Organisation) said on Saturday it had lost communication with its Vikram lander just moments before touchdown on the moons south pole.
The complex $140 million (£114 million) mission involved carrying out a soft landing with a rover – a space exploration vehicle designed to move across the surface of the moon – to search for signs of water.
Isro said Vikrams descent had been normal until it lost contact only 1.2 miles from the lunar surface.
India would have become only the fourth country to land a vessel on the lunar surface, and the third – behind Russia, the US and China – to operate a robotic rover on it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was at Mission Control in the southern city of Bengaluru at the time, said he was proud of the scientists despite the disappointing outcome.
Modi hailed the nations achievements in space as a symbol of the countrys rising ambition as a global power.
He said on Twitter: We remain hopeful and will continue working hard on our space programme…
Theyve [scientists] given their best and have always made India proud. These are moments to be courageous, and courageous we will be!
Isros control centre had been jubilant during the first 10 minutes of the landers descent, with scientists breaking out in occasional cheers.
But the mood suddenly turned sombre when the craft stopped sending data during its final minutes of descent.
It was not immediately known whether the Vikram had landed or crashed and data is now being analysed to find out what happened.
I can understand the sadness in your face, Modi later told scientists after being briefed by the space agency chairman.
I have lived the moment with you when communication with spacecraft was lost.
However, even after communication was lost, scientists at the mission control chanted Victory for Mother India in response to Modis speech.
The mission known as Chandrayaan-2, was intended to study permanently shadowed moon craters that are thought to contain water deposits, which were confirmed by Indias Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008.
Isros chairman had earlier called Chandrayaan-2 the most complex mission ever undertaken by the space agency.
The mission lifted off on July 22 from the Satish Dhawan space centre in Sriharikota – an island off the coast of the southern state Read More – Source