The Vikram Lander of Chandrayaan-2 was expected to land on the Lunar Surface at 1.53 Am on Saturday night 7th September. However, just when the lander was 2100 metre above the surface, it lost contact with the mission’s central command.
It was around 1.50 Am and the eyes of the whole nation were on their TV screens. The PM himself was present at the ISRO’s Bengaluru centre, hundreds of scientists with their hands on their computer, some guests and students also present in the room. The Vikram Lander had even performed the rough braking phase perfectly fine.
4.4 Kms Above Ground
3.6 Kms above ground
2.9 Kms above ground
2.1 Kms above ground
And then suddenly the screen stopped changing figures. Every scientist in the room went silent. Things started to become a little chaotic because the Chandrayaan-2 mission has been a 95% success up till now. Even after 30 minutes of waiting time and a lot of analysis and trial, the mission centre was unable to establish contact again with the Vikram Lander.
As said by an ISRO official, “Vikram Lander& Pragyaan rover, which comprised of only 5 per cent of the mission has been lost. Chandrayaan 2 orbiter which comprised of the remaining 95 per cent of the mission is still orbiting the moon successfully.”
Apart from this Chirs G, Writer and managing editor of Nasa Spaceflight also gave a positive notion in his tweet stating that the orbiter is credible for the 95% of the mission.
It was such an important event for not only ISRO and India but for the whole world because India’s Chandrayaan-2 was the first mission to focus on the southern pole of the moon. It would have endured the world with fresh pieces of information about the never before explored part of the moon. The aspirations of the people started to break down a little but the scientists at the ISRO held their heads high. And there is still hope.
While on the one hand where the people of the nation and the world started to lose expectations of any contact with the Lander and the Rover, ISRO is still making efforts to re-establish contact with the lander. There is a ray of hope because the Vikram Lander is still in the contact with the Moon Orbiter. Chandrayaan-2 consisted of mainly 3 parts. The moon orbiter, the Vikram Lander and the Pragyaan Rover. The Orbiter is still working fine and orbiting the moon. However, the Vikram Lander and the Pragyaan Rover sitting inside it have gone out of the ground station’s view.
The matter is serious because the lander was expected to make a safe landing with the rover and then the rover would make a journey of 500 metres for 1 lunar day (14 earth days) on the moon, conducting a scientific experiment and rigorous data collection from the lunar surface. The point is that the Vikram Lander is still in contact with the moon orbiter. Hence, we can’t assume that the Lander has made a crash landing.
In a conversation with ANI, ISRO’s ex-director D. Shashikumar said “Until the distance of 2.1 Kms, the mission was going exactly as planned. The communication data which has been lost is being found out and it will be analysed to determine whether the lander has made a crash landing or a soft landing.”
He further added, “In my opinion, it is not a crash landing because the communication channel is on between the lander and the orbiter. It should be intact.”
This gives us the hope that there is still chance that the lander has made a safe landing and the rover may have detached from the lander.
Also, there has been no official announcement from ISRO up till now regarding the failure or crash landing of Vikram. This means that the experts still hold hopes and aspire to reconnect to the lander. The last announcement made by ISRO officially on twitter regarding Chandrayaan-2 was:
There have been several other tweets by the many personalities in this regard for providing moral support to the scientists at ISRO:
Apart from this, after addressing the people at ISRO’s Bengaluru centre and motivating them, PM Narendra Modi said: “India is with you and I am with you.”
While leaving the PM from the centre, ISRO’s chairman K Sivan got into tears. PM Modi hugged him and consoled him about the mission.
This proves that the efforts of ISRO’s scientist are sincere and that they have put up a lot on stake. We sincerely hope and pray that the Lander would have made a soft landing and that ISRO’s ground station is soon able to establish a connection and collect information regarding the landing and further updates of the lander. Indeed the nation stands with the ISRO and the scientists.