by Anushka Sharma, MAM, 3rd Year and Mihir Ranjan, EE, 2nd Year
On the 22nd of July, 2019, India buckled up to make history as the first country to successfully attempt a soft landing on the moon in their first attempt with their latest lunar probe, the Chandrayaan-2. Vikram lander, named after the father of India’s space programme Vikram Sarabhai, was scheduled to soft-land on the lunar surface, past midnight on the 6th of August, 2019. However, in the starry mornings of the 7th of September, as Chandrayaan-2 attempted to land on the moon, the lander lost communication when touchdown communication was expected, with it deviating from its trajectory at 2.1 km from the surface of the moon.
That does not imply however that the mission was a disaster, in fact it was quite the contrary. Chandrayaan - 2 still got a lunar orbiter in place, with 8 of its 13 payloads working. ISRO managed to slow down the landers speed from 21,600 km/h to a mere 7 km/h, nearly perfecting the technology.
It’s not the final 2.1 kilometres that mattered, it's the 3.84 lakhs that came before it.
It seemed almost as if a silence spread across the entire nation, with us being mere minutes away from having our names etched in immortality. As the officials waited with bated breath for the glitch to be resolved, it seemed an all too anticlimactic end for a journey this pragmatic.
Regardless, social media is being flooded with messages expressing utmost respect and admiration for the ISRO Team. In our time of need, the nation united as one to prove that we did not fail, we set an example. The people never stopped believing for a single second. And given how far we came, we know we have the mettle to succeed.
One should not fear the dark in the night, for the stars always shine true above you.
There’s no prouder day to be an Indian, for not only did we in the true Indian spirit, heavily optimize this mission and reduce its cost, but we also managed to complete 90% of the mission objectives. The fact that families were up in the night to potentially witness history shows the belief we have in our scientists.
However, not all hope is lost.
The Indian Space Research Organisation, is making all possible efforts to establish communication with Vikram lander that has been lying on the moon for three days now, it has been located, lying in a tilted position close to its landing spot in the lunar south pole region. Constant efforts are being made in order to establish communication with the lander.
Our scientists serve as paragons of virtue and scientific prowess, the first space mission to be led by women, a mission literally cheaper than the budget of most space sci-fi films out there these days. India proved a point, that if we put our heart and soul into a task, no problem is impossible, and seeing how close we were to the edge of infinity, we will not stop. Let this only instil our hearts with zeal and fervor, for we Indians do not go gently, into that good night.