Vikram, India’s first attempt to soft land on the Moon, apparently has failed, with something apparently going wrong in the very last seconds before landing.
As I write this they have not officially announced anything, but the live feed shows a room of very unhappy people.
It is possible the lander made it and has not yet sent back word, but such a confirmation should not take this long.
India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, was given a very short briefing by K. Sivan, head of ISRO, and then apparently left without comment. This I found an interesting contrast to the actions of Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu when its lunar lander Beresheet failed in landing earlier this year. Netanyahu came out to comfort the workers in mission control, congratulating them for getting as far as they had.
Modi apparently simply left. UPDATE: Modi has reappeared to talk to the children who had won a contest to see the landing as well as people in mission control. After making a public statement he has now left.
They are now confirming that communications was lost at 2.1 kilometers altitude, which was just before landing. They are analyzing the data right now to figure out what went wrong.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
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