An emotional moment played out at Indian Space Research Organisation's Bengaluru centre Saturday, when the agency's chief scientist K Sivan welled up in tears after India's first-ever attempt to land a rover on Moon appeared to have failed just moments before landing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Bengaluru to watch the landing live with ISRO scientists, warmly hugged and consoled the ISRO chief.
— ANI (@ANI) September 7, 2019
In his encouraging address to the scientists, Modi asked ISRO scientists not to get disheartened by the hurdles in the moon mission Chandrayaan-2 and asserted that there will be a "new dawn".
ISRO's plan to soft land Chandrayaan-2's Vikram module on the Lunar surface did not go as per script in the early hours of Saturday, with the lander losing communication with ground stations during its final descent. The rover came apparently gathered unplanned momentum just before landing and lost communication merely 2.1 kilometre from the moon's surface.
Addressing the scientists hours after ISRO announced that it had lost communication with the lander, he also said 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."
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 the Vikram's failure to lower its speed as planned during its descent to the planet. This is how poets will describe it, he said, adding that the will to touch the moon has now become stronger and more intense.
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, 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 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".
The lander had completed the first 'rough braking' part of its descent, in which four of the module’s propulsion engines were fired at the same time to lower its speed significantly. The second "fine braking" part of the mission followed, towards the end of which we saw the first sign of something wrong. The Chandrayaan 2 orbiter, which is still in good health will be listening to any communication from the lander. This also means, that a major part of the ISRO's Moon mission is still a success.
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Updated Date: Sep 07, 2019 10:22:24 IST