Chandrayaan-2 landing: Modi expresses solidarity with ISRO after minor setback in Moon mission, says 'effort was worth it, so was the journey'

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.

FP Staff September 07, 2019 12:36:34 IST
Chandrayaan-2 landing: Modi expresses solidarity with ISRO after minor setback in Moon mission, says 'effort was worth it, so was the journey'
  • ISRO's plan to soft land Chandrayaan-2's Vikram module on the Lunar surface did not go as planned in the early hours of Saturday

  • Modi delivered a message of optimism, solidarity and hope to scientists in an address, which was broadcast live

  • 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

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked ISRO scientists not to get disheartened by the hurdles in India's ambitious Moon mission, Chandrayaan-2 and asserted that there will be a "new dawn and better tomorrow".

ISRO's plan to soft land Chandrayaan-2's Vikram module on the Lunar surface did not go as planned in the early hours of Saturday, with the lander losing contact with ground stations during its final descent.

Modi delivered a message of optimism, solidarity and hope to scientists in an address, which was broadcast live, hours after the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that it had lost communication with the lander.

Chandrayaan2 landing Modi expresses solidarity with ISRO after minor setback in Moon mission says effort was worth it so was the journey

Disheartened over Chandrayaan2 setback, ISRO chief K Sivan was left teary-eyed minutes after the Prime Minister's address. ANI

Narendra Modi reassures ISRO scientists after Chandrayaan-2 landing doesn't go as planned  

"The nation is proud of them and stands with them," the prime minister said in a tweet moments after a dejected ISRO chief announced that there has been a last minute snag.

"We came very close but we need to cover more ground in the times to come. Learnings 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.

Cheering up the team to scientists who had envisioned and realised the project from scratch on a shoestring budget (in comparison to other space missions), Modi reflected on setbacks as part of the journey. "Effort was worth it and so was the journey. It will make us stronger and better. There will be a new dawn and better tomorrow... I am with you, nation is with you," he said.

As The New York Times noted in its report, the whole cost of realising the project was than $150 million, cheaper than the budget to make the 2014 Hollywood film Interstellar.

 

'Will to touch the Moon has become stronger'

The prime minister also sought to lighten the mood in the moments of disappointment for scientists, saying the moon has been romanticised in poems and literature so often that Chandrayaan in its last steps ran to embrace it, a reference to the Vikram's failure to lower its speed as planned during its descent to the Satellite.

"This is how poets will describe it (the mission)," Modi said, adding that the will to touch the moon has only become stronger and more intense after the last minute miss.

PM stayed with scientists at ISRO Centre amid tense moments before landing

Prime Minister Modi watched the entire proceedings of the lander's nail biting descent on Earth's natural satellites surface at the ISRO centre in Bengaluru. In what was probably an all nighter for the scientists and the prime minister, Modi expressed his solidarity with the scientists who had worked hard on the project.

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 a few hours earlier 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. He said that he did not want to add to their distress when he saw that the landing did not go as per plant, which was why he did not stay for long with them in the night and came back to meet them in the morning, when things had settled. The prime minister said he was not there to preach but to be inspired by the scientists.

Modi shook hands with all the scientists present in the room and was also seen patting ISRO chief K Sivan's back in tense moments when Vikram Lander lost contact with the ISRO stations.

K Sivan gets emotional, Narendra Modi consoles him

Modi was also seen hugging and consoling a visibly disappointed and emotional Sivan.

"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 that 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 "encyclopedia 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.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date:

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