It was a heart-breaking moment as seconds before it was supposed to touch down on the Moon’s surface, communication with the Chandrayaan 2 lander was lost. India had hoped to create history by becoming the first nation to reach closest to the lunar south pole. It was also a fully homegrown indigenously built lander. The PM asked the team at India’s space research organisation (ISRO) to not lose hope despite the mission being unsuccessful.

“The Vikram lander descent was as planned and normal performance was observed until an altitude of 2.1 kilometres. Subsequently the communication from the lander to the ground station was lost. The data is being analysed,” ISRO chief K Sivan said. Dr Sivan had called Chandrayaan 2 the “most complex mission ever undertaken by ISRO”.

Also Read:Meet the amazing women behind the moon mission

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was watching the landing from the mission control room. After he was informed by ISRO scientists about the pause in the mission, he said, “There are ups and downs in life. This is not a small achievement. The nation is proud of you. Wish you the very best. I congratulate you. You all have done a big service to nation, science and mankind. I am with you all the way, move forward bravely,” PM Modi told them.

Earlier, the Moon lander Vikram separated from its orbiting mothership and performed a series of manoeuvres to lower its altitude for a perfect touchdown between 1:30 am and 2:30 am. It used rocket thrusters to slow itself down to attempt the extremely tricky operation that ISRO called “15 minutes of terror”. It was at this point, about 2.1 km from the surface, that contact was lost.

What Is A Lander?
A lander does not move around. In the case of Chandrayaan 2 mission, the lander was called Vikram, named after Vikram A Sarabhai, the father of India’s space programme.

What Is A Rover?
A rover, on the other hand, moves around. In the case of Chandrayaan 2 mission, Pragyan was the rover which would have rolled out of the moon lander to explore the moon. Curiosity is an example of a rover.

The rover Pragyan – which means wisdom in the Sanskrit language – was to roll out from the Moon lander and explore craters for clues for how much water the polar areas on the Moon contain.

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