India lost contact with a spacecraft it was trying to land on the moon on Saturday, its space agency said, in a setback for the nation’s ambitious plans to become the first country to probe the unexplored lunar south pole.- Reports: Reuters.
The lander of the Chandrayaan-2 moon mission was attempting a “soft,” or controlled, landing near the south pole of the moon where scientists believe there could be water ice. Communication was lost just as it was about to touch down.
“Data is being analyzed,” K Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told distraught scientists at the agency’s tracking center in Bengaluru.
The Indian designed spacecraft, which had been orbiting the moon, began descending to the lunar surface at about 2007 GMT but scientists lost contact with it during the penultimate stage of the descent.
For a graphic on the spacecraft's planned landing sequence, click here
A live broadcast from ISRO, India’s equivalent of NASA, showed scientists grow tense and the floor fall silent as the control station struggled to get a signal from the lander.