ISRO lost communication with moon lander, not hopes of 1.3 billion Indians: Vice president on Chandrayaan-2
As Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander lost contact with ground stations minutes before its planned touchdown on the lunar surface, the government on Saturday said that 90 to 95 per cent of the mission objectives have been accomplished and the orbiter will continue to contribute to lunar science.
Principal Scientific Adviser to the government of India, K Vijay Raghavan, said after a moment of "despondency", ISRO project team is back to work.
"Success criteria were defined for each and every phase of the mission and so far 90 to 95 per cent of the mission objectives have been accomplished and will continue to contribute to lunar science, notwithstanding the loss of communication with the Lander," Raghavan said in a series of tweets.
He said ISRO project review teams have made presentations to mission management, chaired by Dr K Sivan right from the early hours of the day and are already addressing causes and learning from the events.
"After a moment of despondency, it is back to work!! It is inspirational to see this characteristic of science in collective action. Kudos to ISRO," he said.
He said the Vikram Lander followed the planned descent trajectory from its orbit of 35 kilometres to just below 2 kilometres above the surface.
"All systems and sensors of the Lander functioned excellently until this point. Tested and proved many new technologies such as the variable thrust propulsion technology used in the Lander," he said.
He said, Chandrayaan-2 mission was very "complex", and a significant technological leap from previous missions of ISRO.
"This brought together an Orbiter, Lander and Rover to explore the unexplored south polar region of the moon. This unique mission, aimed at studying not just one area of the moon but also its exosphere, the surface and sub-surface in a single mission," he said.
The Orbiter has already been placed in its intended orbit around the moon and shall enrich our understanding of the moon's evolution, map minerals, water molecules in the polar regions, using its eight state-of-the-art scientific instruments, Raghavan said.
He said since the launch of Chandrayaan-2 on July 22, India and the world watched its progress from one phase to the next with great expectation and excitement.
"The precise launch and mission management has ensured a long life of almost seven years instead of the planned one year," he said sharing a list of cutting-edge science that will come from the Orbiter.
"The Orbiter camera is the highest resolution camera (0.3m) in any lunar mission so far and has already started providing high-resolution images which will be immensely useful to the global scientific community," he said.
Raghavan said the pictures he saw on Saturday morning were "extraordinary" because Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC) 2 was a miniature version of the TMC used onboard the Chandrayaan-1 mission.
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