While people at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had a major heartbreak due to Chandrayaan 2 mission 2019 wasn’t successful by 2.1 km, the rest of India is proud and has been praising their efforts. The entire nation was awake till wee hours last night, hoping that the satellite would reach the lunar surface. But there was silence and uncertainty at the peak moment.
If you’re wondering if the entire Chandrayaan 2 mission 2019 was a failure or not, let us tell you that it wasn’t. Before we quickly assume what went wrong let us consider the efforts that went onto the mission and how successful it really is.
What is Chandrayaan 2?
Chandrayaan 2 is an ISRO mission that comprises an orbiter and soft lander carrying a rover. It left the earth in the mission to reach the moon on July 22, 2019. It is the second mission after the first Chandrayaan was sent to space. For mission 2019, the primary objective was to demonstrate the ability to soft-land on the moon and operate the robotic rover on it.
What is the current status of Chandrayaan 2 mission 2019?
Chandrayaan 2 mission 2019 did not go as planned but ISRO is still hoping that the Vikram lander and Pragyaan rover inside the satellite is saved. There is still no official confirmation about the final status but their mission was a huge try for India.
The Chairman of ISRO, K Sivan made an announcement shortly after the space agency lost touch with the Vikram lander. They lost contact and were going over the flight data to see what went wrong.
As the spacecraft went disconnected from the headquarters at the final moment (due to a communication problem) and the lander touched down safely, it did not reach the targeted area. Although it is not likely, it is not impossible for the satellite to still serve the purpose. If the lander is still in working condition and upright, it will still offer data even if not entirely as planned.
Space is undeniably hard
ISRO didn’t take up an easy task this time but also not by a long shot. There have been more than 30 satellites launched on the moon that reached its destination or didn’t reach in one piece. Moreover, the lunar surface is littered with carcasses from the satellites.
Recently, the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet damaged just a few minutes before it was going to touch down. They had also lost the connection to their spacecraft.
Chandrayaan 2 lost contact right when the Vikram lander was 2.1 km above the moon’s surface. But even this minor glitch is going to be hard learning for ISRO’s scientists. We cannot help but admit that Indian’s space agency is still the best in the world and they have launched the highest number of successful space missions compared to any other agencies in the world.
Chandrayaan 2 mission 2019 – the most complex till date
ISRO targeted a soft landing to not damage any of the instruments onboard. For this, they first began braking at every 30 km up and performed ‘fine braking’ at about 7 km. It made the aircraft slow down so that it could drift down towards the last few feet by using microgravity. This is because you cannot fire rocket boosters too low to the ground as it can topple it with blowback. It can even obscure the solar panels due to dust.
Lander wasn’t the only mission
Vikram lander and the cargo called Pragyan rover was crucial for lunar surface experiments. But it wasn’t only ISRO hardware going up to the lunar space. Chandrayaan-2 orbiter will stay in the space for at least one year and pass across the moon and gather valuable data.
In comparison, the rover and lander were expected to function for one lunar day or 14 days on Earth. India has lost this battle but the pursuit of science will never end.
How failure is the teaching point
Just because ISRO has failed to land the spacecraft on the moon doesn’t mean it is the end. It took NASA plenty of missions before they could finally put a lander on the moon in 1967. The Apollo missions took 11 trials itself before finally reaching the moon.
ISRO was less than 1% away from the moon compared to the journey they set. Now they know what needs to be changed and where they went wrong. We also cannot forget that the Chandrayaan-2 mission had the budget of INR 978 crore ($136.5 million). Around INR 603 crore ($842 million) went towards developing orbiter, rover, lander, including navigational and ground support network. The remaining amount went to create GSLV Mk III rocket. It cost 20 times less compared to NASA’s mission but India probably has to start all over again.
Looking forward to a brighter future
Although Chandrayaan 2 mission 2019 didn’t go as planned the entire nation has praised how well ISRO is at their job. A video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugging the crying chairman of ISRO went viral and everyone could feel what that man went through. People all across the world tweeted several times to mention how proud they are of ISRO’s unending hard work and gave them the best wishes. Let us just hope that India is going to come back with a bigger and better plan the next time and the nation will be successful in their upcoming attempt.