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India’s Moon Mission Was Anything But A Failure. Here’s Why

Space is hard.


That simple sentiment, bursting with painful verisimilitude, was the order of the day when the Indian Space Research Organisation’s attempted, historic soft landing of its uncrewed contraption near the moon’s south pole went awry. Things were initially looking good for the Vikram lander – and its internalised exploratory rover, Pragyan – for some time, before the descent went off course during its final moments. Due to land on the lunar surface around a month after it was launched into space, technicians instead lost contact with it seconds before it was supposed to touch down in the dusty, unexplored regolith.


The antagonists behind the failed landing remain under investigation, and as of now remain inconclusive. The lander itself may not be totally lost; spotted from orbit, it appears to have remained in one piece. It has tipped onto its side, though, and attempts to communicate with it have so far been unsuccessful.


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