- Look forward to opportunities to explore solar system together, said NASA
- NASA said "space is hard", adding that space agency ISRO "inspired us"
- The Chandrayaan 2 mission stood out because of its low cost
When India attempted history last night, trying to become the first country to land near the south pole of the Moon, it had the attention of the entire world. Though the Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO lost contact with Chandrayaan 2's Vikram Lander moments before it could touch down on the Moon, words of encouragement have been flowing in. And the most flattering ones, perhaps, have come from NASA.
The US space agency, no stranger to space or the Moon, has said ISRO "inspired us with its journey" and that "space is hard". NASA said it looks forward to future opportunities to explore the solar system together.
Space is hard. We commend @ISRO's attempt to land their #Chandrayaan2 mission on the Moon's South Pole. You have inspired us with your journey and look forward to future opportunities to explore our solar system together. https://t.co/pKzzo9FDLL— NASA (@NASA) September 7, 2019
The Chandrayaan 2 mission stood out because of its low cost of about $140 million. The United States spent the equivalent of more than $100 billion on its Apollo missions. The mission also holds great significance for future space exploration missions, including those to Mars.
Even though ISRO suffered a setback, it is not giving up hope on establishing contact with the Vikram lander. ISRO chairman K Sivan said on Saturday that efforts to contact the lander module will continue for the next 14 days. His public statement to national broadcaster Doordarshan was his first since the lander fell silent in the early hours of Saturday, dashing the hopes of millions across the country.
Dr Sivan blamed faulty execution in the last stage of the operation -- when the Vikram lander was 2.1 km above the lunar surface -- for the loss of communication. "The last part of the operation was not executed in the right manner. It was in that phase that we lost link with the lander, and could not establish contact subsequently," he told Doordarshan.
India had hoped its Chandrayaan 2 mission would make it the fourth nation to land on the moon after the United States, Russia and China."
ISRO, in its latest statement, called the mission "highly complex", which took a significant technological leap to bring together an orbiter, lander and rover to explore the Moon's south pole.
The space agency said the orbiter, which will now have a seven times longer life, will help in the understanding of the Moon's evolution, mapping of its minerals and water molecules in the Polar Regions.