NEW DELHI: Space enthusiasts and researchers from around the world on Saturday lauded the commendable effort of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its more than 16,000 scientists in having almost achieved India's moon mission.
Communication with Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander was lost, while it was descending on moon's South Pole in the early hours of Saturday. The 2,379-kg Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, however, continues to fly around the Moon.
"Just a reminder to folks that on its way to putting this lander down, India did successfully put its second spacecraft in orbit at the Moon. Chandrayaan-2 orbiter will be up there doing science for a year. Lander would only have lasted 2 weeks," posted Emily Lakdawalla, a planetary evangelist and scientist.
Chris G-NSF, who writes for NASASpaceflight, said: "If Vikram failed to land - which it looks like - REMEMBER the ORBITER is where 95% of the experiments are. The Orbiter is safely in Lunar orbit and performing its mission. This is not a total failure. Not at all."
"Awesome to see so many women in mission control!" posted Dr Tanya Harrison, Director of Research at Arizona State University's Space Technology and Science Initiative and part of Mars' Opportunity rover team.
The Australian Space Agency tweeted: "The #VikramLander was just a few kms short of realising its mission to the Moon. To the team at @isro, we applaud your efforts and the commitment to continue our journey into space."
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had earlier posted: "Rooting for team India. Good luck, India!"
Vikram had successfully completed its rough braking phase and was descending well at its planned speed when the lander slightly deflected from its set trajectory and suddenly the link got snapped.
Witnessing the unexpected development on the screen, ISRO Chairman K Sivan broke down but Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugged him, and praised and encouraged the team's effort. Appreciating the gesture, Daniel Carmon, former Israeli envoy to India tweeted: "What a moment! What a gesture!"