Editorial: Lost & found

Chennai: A little more than 24 hours after facing a minor setback in its Chandrayaan-2 mission, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Sunday announced that it has found the location of Vikram Lander on moon surface.

This is being seen as a major relief and the social media soon exploded with posts and memes praising the efforts of ISRO scientists. “Yes, we have located the lander on the Lunar surface. It must have been a hard-landing,” ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said, adding that it was unclear at this stage if the lander had been damaged. Sivan said the lunar orbiter had taken a thermal image of the lander.

“Orbiter has clicked a thermal image of Lander. But there is no communication yet. We are trying to have contact. It will be communicated soon,” he said. ISRO had lost contact with Vikram, one of three components of the Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft, on Saturday morning while the lander was attempting a historic soft landing near the south pole of the moon. The lander stopped transmitting just 2.1 kilometres from the moon’s surface. Meanwhile, in another welcome news, the Chandrayaan-2 mission will ‘absolutely have no impact’ on ISRO’s ambitious manned mission Gaganyaan, scheduled to be launched in 2022, according to an ISRO official.

P G Diwakar, who was earlier scientific secretary at the space agency and is now the Director of Earth Observations Applications and Disaster Management Programme Office at the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru, said both Chandrayaan and Gaganyaan have different objectives and dimensions.

“There will be absolutely no problem at all. It will have no impact. The satellite missions as well as the human space flight mission will go very smoothly without any problem. Each mission is of a different type,” he said. ISRO plans to send three Indians to space by 2022, an announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his last Independence Day speech. ISRO will also launch Aditya L-1, India’s first solar mission, by next year. There is no doubt that India will pen new chapters in the history as far as space research is concerned.

NT Bureau