Is NASA 2019 better than ISRO

Nasa finds remains of the failed Indian moon mission

After initial delays, the first Indian lunar landing mission Chandrayaan-2 (Sanskrit for "lunar vehicle") took off to the earth's satellite on July 22nd of this year. The technical difficulties, which were partly due to a leak in the GSLV-MkIII launcher, already indicated that the mission was not going to be a lucky star. The plan envisaged that Chandrayaan-2 swiveled into a lunar orbit after a four-week journey and, after another two weeks, dropped the Vikram landing module, which was supposed to touch down at the lunar South Pole.

At least the arrival in lunar orbit went as planned on August 20th - but this did not apply to the landing on the earth's satellite: At first everything seemed to go according to plan during the delicate maneuver on September 7th, but then the Indian space agency ISRO lost contact to Vikram. One day later, the lander could be located near the south pole of the moon, but the ISRO was still unable to connect to it. How things actually stood with the probe was therefore largely a mystery so far.

Debris field

Now, however, the US space agency NASA has presented pictures of the remains of the landing module, which for the first time show that Vikram apparently shattered during the attempt to land. The images of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) published on Monday (local time) show a large-scale distribution of the debris on a flat plain around 600 kilometers from the South Pole.

Fourth lunar landing nation

With the prestige project Chandrayaan-2, India wanted to become the fourth lunar landing nation in the world, after the USA, Russia and China. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that his country should succeed in manned space missions by 2022 despite the setback: "We will continue our journey," said Modi after the failure of the mission.

India developed almost all of the components of the Chandrayaan 2 mission itself. The cost of this was low at around 126 million euros compared to other lunar programs. The aim of Chandrayaan-2 was the mapping of the lunar surface and the study of its composition as well as the search for water. During India's first mission to the moon in 2008, the Chandrayaan-1 probe merely orbited the earth's satellite, but did not land. (red, December 3, 2019)