A couple of days ago we already wrote that the Indian mission Chandrayan-2, the purpose of which was a soft landing on the moon to further study the properties of the lunar soil, ended in failure. Today there was information that not everything is so bad, and India has a chance now to join Russia (USSR), the USA and China in the list of countries that were able to land their devices on the surface of our satellite. Let's see why it happened, who is to blame, what to do and whether the device will continue to work.
Let me remind you that the flight control center in India lost contact with the lunar rover and the descent platform during landing, when about a kilometer remained to the surface. At the same time, the orbiter, which is also part of the mission, remained in orbit and continues to function normally. It was he who was able to detect the lost devices. This was stated in an interview with India Today TV by ISRO Chairman Kailasavadivu Sivan.
“We came very close, but we need to work harder. Our desire to touch the moon has become even stronger. ”- Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India on the crash of the lander 07.09.2019.
History of Indian Cosmonautics
In total, 38 attempts have been made to land the ship on the surface of the moon. Only about half of them were successful. In April, Israel tried to land a ship on the lunar surface, but failed in the last minutes. Despite this, it can still serve science. If everything ended well, Israel would be the fourth country to be able to do this. India hoped to take this place in the event of a successful landing “Chandrayan-2 ″.
Despite the crash that seemed obvious after an unsuccessful landing, some experts continued to consider the mission a success. For example, Pallava Bagla, science editor of the NDTV news channel, said the mission could not be considered unsuccessful since the Chandrayan-2 orbiter remained in orbit and continued to operate. In his opinion, 50 percent of the mission is completed.
Moreover, the experts knew and warned in advance that the landing of the lunar module, named after the first head of the country's space agency “Vikram”, would be a very difficult task.
“Proper soft landing is the most important part of the mission,” said Patrick Das Gupta, professor of physics and astrophysics at the University of Delhi. “Descending from 21 miles to zero altitude is the hardest part of the job.”
The first Indian lunar mission Chandrayan-1, launched in 2008, proved that there could be water molecules on the surface of the moon. The current mission was to find this water and study the thermal properties of the lunar soil, taking its samples.
Attempts to land a ship on the moon are made not only by India. Other countries also want to gain a foothold in this bridgehead. Among them are the United States, which does not give up attempts to bring a person to the surface of our satellite. On behalf of Donald Trump, NASA should do this no later than 2024, which looks very dubious against the background of the high costs and complexity of the mission.
Here, by the way, one can note the very good economic efficiency of the Indian space program. The cost of the Chandrayan-2 mission was only $ 141 million. This is very small for such a large-scale project. Let's discuss in our Telegram chat whether this is so.
The purpose of the mission “Chandrayan-2 ″
The orbital apparatus of the Chandrayan-2 mission was to carry out eight scientific experiments to measure and create maps of the surface of the moon, as well as to study its external atmosphere.
On business: NASA will send a helicopter to Mars. What is it for?
The mission has become a source of tremendous national pride. Social media has spoken out heavily in support of the space agency and its scientists. Even failure did not stop them from supporting the agency.
In addition to the successes in space, which are undoubtedly important for Indian and global science, a successful landing could relieve some tension in society. The fact is that in India, dissatisfaction with the Modi government is beginning to grow, which is facing increasingly gloomy economic scenarios. Especially, the situation is escalating amid low GDP and high unemployment.
Will the Indian lunar rover work
The fact that the orbiter included in the Chandrayan-2 mission was able to detect equipment with which communication was lost, gives hope that it can still be saved. This is unlikely, but hope, as you know, dies last. Specialists are now actively engaged in this issue.
Even if the equipment “comes to life”, it will only have a few days for normal operation, since then the connection with it will be lost due to the position of the Moon relative to the Earth. It was originally laid down in the program. But, with a successful set of circumstances, it will still be possible to count a soft landing. For India, this will be a real victory.