For ISRO scientists and millions of people watching India's moon mission Chandrayaan 2 with hope and pride, the loss of contact with lander Vikram came as a major setback. There was applause just moments ago as the lander successfully crossed stages of descent. Then, ISRO Chief K Sivan made the heartbreaking announcement. PM Modi told dejected scientists "There are ups and downs in life. We are proud of you"
Industrialist Anand Mahindra was another person not ready to give up on India's ambitious mission. After ISRO lost touch with the Moon lander, he tweeted, "The communication isn't lost. Every single person in India can feel the heartbeat of #chandrayaan2. We can hear it whisper to us that 'If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
Anand Mahindra has been closely following Chandrayaan's journey.
After India's lunar mission lifted off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh in July, he had said, "Was waiting to see the isro folks hug each other before breathing normally again. I stand & salute our scientists. They are deservedly our new celebrities."
Dejected ISRO scientists first broke the news to PM Modi, who was in Bengaluru to watch the landing live. A visibly upset K Sivan walked up to the pavilion from where PM Modi was watching the landing. His colleagues were seen consoling him after he spoke to PM Modi
After being briefed, PM Modi went to a roomful of crestfallen scientists and said encouraging words. "They've given their best and have always made India proud. These are moments to be courageous, and courageous we will be," PM Modi tweeted later.
If things had gone as planned, Chandrayaan's rover Pragyan would have rolled out from the Moon lander between 5:30 am and 6:30 am. It was meant to do a thorough mapping of the Moon's resources, looking for the presence of water and clicking high-resolution images.
A successful landing would have made India the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to make a soft landing on the Moon.