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India's second moon mission may have failed

Mukul : risingbd.com
     
Publish on: 2019-09-07 9:37:34 AM     ||     Updated: 2019-09-07 7:11:33 PM

International Desk: The Indian space agency lost contact with its Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission on Friday night, in a setback to the nation's ambitious plan to land an unmanned probe near the south pole of the moon.  

The Chandrayaan-2 approached the Moon as normal until an error occurred about 2.1km (1.3 miles) from the surface, officials said.

India's Space Research Organization (Isro) said it lost contact seconds before the ship was expected to land.

Kailasavadivoo Sivan, the agency's chairman, said that "data is being analysed" at a tracking centre in Bengaluru in an attempt to find out what happened.

Had the mission had been successful, India would have become the first country to explore the moon's south pole, and only the fourth to make a soft landing on the lunar surface, after the former Soviet Union, the US and China.

India's first Moon mission - Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 - orbited the astronomical body and carried out the first and most detailed search for water on the lunar surface using radars.

Chandrayaan-2 entered the Moon's orbit on 20 August, a month after take-off.  It was unclear if the mission had definitely failed on Friday night.

The control room burst into applause during the so-called rough breaking phase of the descent, with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi watching the action from behind a glass screen.

Isro chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan announced to staff that the ship's initial descent had been "normal," and that the mission's data would be analysed.

Mr Sivan had earlier described the final 15-minute descent period as "15 minutes of terror".

After the announcement, Prime Minister Modi gave a brief speech in the control room. "It is no small thing we have achieved," said Mr Modi. "Be courageous.

Chandrayaan-2 (Moon vehicle 2) was the most complex mission ever attempted by India's space agency, Isro. "It is the beginning of a historical journey," Isro chief K Sivan said after launch in July.

The lander (named Vikram, after the founder of Isro) carried within its belly a 27kg Moon rover with instruments to analyse the lunar soil.

Source: Agencies

 

risingbd/Sept 7, 2019/Mukul