India's enthusiastic watchers who were observing Chandrayaan-2's descend on the moon continued to shower congratulatory messages on Saturday addressed to the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) even after the spacecraft's lander lost signal with ground stations just ahead of its landing.
The collective mood of celebratory anticipation turned into distress at the ISRO Mission Operations Complex in Bengaluru after the Chandryaan-2's lander 'Vikram' lost signal with ground stations just 2.1 km ahead of a soft landing.
However, ISRO officials have stated that while the crucial landing failed, the remaining part of Chandrayaan-2's mission including its orbiter that has several instruments onboard, continues its successful trajection around the moon.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who flew to Bengaluru on Friday night to watch the live descend, consoled the desolated ISRO chief K Sivan after his emotional address and tweeted saying "India is proud of our scientists!"
India is proud of our scientists! They’ve given their best and have always made India proud. These are moments to be courageous, and courageous we will be!— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 6, 2019
Chairman @isro gave updates on Chandrayaan-2. We remain hopeful and will continue working hard on our space programme.
Netizens responded to the reported "failure" with encouraging messages addressed to the scientific community including "we are proud of you Isro".
Dear scientists of @isro, working on #Chandrayan2 , we are proud of you. Missing by 1/100th of a second, some things most elusive in life are always great. It gives us more confidence & perseverance to do better. All the best for future endeavors. The entire nation is with you.— P.T. USHA (@PTUshaOfficial) September 7, 2019
When was the last time citizens stayed awake to watch a launch? We are changing. Our zeal to achieve something is becoming stronger. Our interest in science and technology is growing. Our grandchildren are reaching out to the space and beyond. This is the success.#Chandrayan2— R.S. Bains (@HerrBains) September 6, 2019
Political leaders including, President Ram Nath Kovind, Home minister Amit Shah and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also poured in congratulatory messages.
Congratulations to the team at #ISRO for their incredible work on the Chandrayaan 2 Moon Mission. Your passion & dedication is an inspiration to every Indian. Your work is not in vain. It has laid the foundation for many more path breaking & ambitious Indian space missions. ??— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 6, 2019
#India can & should be proud of its great teams of #ISRO scientists who have made it a world leader in #SpaceScience & practices.I am glad I followed the Live broadcast together with so many people in India & around the world. Getting where @Isro got is a great success by itself https://t.co/naT5hVZm4N— Daniel Carmon?? (@danielocarmon) September 6, 2019
Some even highlighted the number of Indian women scientists present in the mission control and compared it with Space X launches.
#Chandrayaan2 Mission lead by Indian women scientist will be remembered as a historic moment in the womankind. Congratulations #Rocketwomen M.Vanitha & Ritu Karidhal for India's leap to the lunar south pole.#Chandrayaan2Live #Chandrayan2 #Chandrayaan2theMoon pic.twitter.com/QWsCP7d327— RUPA DASH (@rupadash) September 6, 2019
While Chandrayaan-2 is largely celebrated for being attempting to study the non-explored side of the moon- its south pole and being developed at the lowest cost, a lesser-known fact is that the space project is first space project headlined by two women scientists in India.
Project director Vanitha Muthayya, an electronics and communications engineer, and mission director Ritu Karidhal, an aerospace engineer, not only lead Chandrayaan-2 but they also held key positions in ISRO's past successful Mars orbiter mission Chandrayaan -1 in 2013.
On the issue of gender inclusivity in science, Chandrayaan 2 mission director, Ritu Kritihal had said that it is important to have confidence in your capability without giving your gender much thought. Be focused on your goal and work with complete dedication."