India Loses Contact with Vikram Lander During Historic Moon Landing Attempt

Pablo Tucker
September 7, 2019

India's attempt to become the first nation to put a spacecraft on the south pole of the moon is on hold. You might get to see 10 extra minutes of the lander Vikram's descent, or you might not.

The lander performed a series of breaking maneuvers on Friday, first so-called rough breaking, followed by fine breaking. ISRO will livestream the touchdown in a webcast that will start at 3:40 p.m. EDT (1:10 a.m. IDT) on ISRO's YouTube channel.

Modi spoke after Sivan's announcement, appearing to bolster downcast spirits in mission control as they investigated the issue.

Many said that regardless of what happened, they were proud of ISRO's scientists and what the country has achieved.

Soon after, it was clear that communication with the Vikram lander was terminated.

Later today India hopes to make a historic achievement: becoming only the fourth country in history to make a soft landing on the surface of the moon.

The landing attempt was streamed live online by ISRO and National Geographic.

After its launch on July 22, Chandrayaan-2 spent several weeks making its way to the moon, ultimately entering lunar orbit on Aug 20.

India is a growing power in space. Sarabhai died in a plane crash in 1966.

Tasked with determining the material composition of the moon's surface, the Pragyan rover will test the ground near the landing site and identify the elements it contains.

The goal of the mission is to investigate the shadow-shrouded Lunar South Pole for the presence of water and learn whether craters there have preserved any scientifically significant materials that add to knowledge about the early Solar System. But the trio of spacecrafts are outfitted with instruments to perform some basic science.

The orbiter carries eight scientific payloads for mapping the lunar surface and study the exosphere (outer atmosphere) of the Moon. Its permanently shadowed craters are estimated to hold almost 100 million tonnes of water. The region could provide natural resources for a permanent human base on the moon, as well as prove useful to interplanetary travel. If you're interested in watching the Chandrayaan-2 Moon landing live, here's what you need to know.

As such, scientists say the lunar South Pole, if as believed it has an abundance of water, will serve as a pitstop as well as a testing ground for technologies to be used to journey to Mars.

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