The Chandrayaan-2 mission, India's complex space project to land a probe on the south pole of the Moon, ended in failure when scientists lost contact with the Vikram moon landing module before it touched the surface.
Despite the reverse, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, told the country's space scientists that he was proud of a program that had come so close to placing a module on the Moon.
Still It is unknown what happened to the spacecraft, but Modi said there would be other opportunities.
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The success of the mission would have made India the fourth nation to achieve a soft landing on the Moon.
"The best is yet to come in our space program. India is with you," Modi said.
Chandrayaan-2 began a normal descent towards the Moon until an error occurred about 2.1 km from the surface, according to experts.
The Space Research Organization of India (ISRO) reported that the contact was lost seconds before the ship landed.
India's first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, launched in 2008m conducted the first and most detailed search for water on the lunar surface using radars.
Chandrayaan-2 entered the moon's orbit on August 20, and planned to begin a controlled descent to the surface at dawn on Saturday, Indian time, more than a month after its launch.
All mission control personnel were attached to the screens in the ISRO space center in Bangalore, as the ship made its descent.
The control center exploded in applause during the so-called "rough" phase of the descent, while Prime Minister Modi watched the actions behind a glass screen.
The director of ISRO, Kailasavadivoo Sivan, announced to the staff that the initial descent of the ship had been "normal" and that mission data would be analyzed.
Previously, Sivan had described the final descent as "15 minutes of terror."
What was the mission about?
Chandrayaan-2 (Lunar Vehicle 2) was the most complex mission ever attempted by the Indian space agency, ISRO. "It is the beginning of a historic journey," K Sivan said after the launch in July.
The lunar module (called Vikram, in honor of the founder of ISRO) carried in its compartment a vehicle of 27 kilos with instruments to analyze the lunar soil.
The vehicle, called Pragyan (which in Sanskrit means wisdom) had the displacement capacity of 500 meters within a 14-day life cycle, and it was expected that he had sent images of flies to Earth to analyze them.
The mission would have focused on the lunar surface, looking for water and minerals and measuring lunar earthquakes, among other things.
What would have been the meaning of the mission?
A soft landing on another planetary body – a feat barely accomplished by three countries so far – would have been a great technological achievement in the ambitions of the Indian space agency ISRO, writes scientific author Pallava Bagla.
He adds that he would have also paved the way for future missions in India to land on Mars, and opened the possibility of sending Indian astronauts into space.
For the first time in the space history of India, the interplanetary expedition was led by two women -the project director, Muthaya Vanitha and the mission director, Ritu Karidhal.
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It is also a matter of national pride – the launch of the probe in July was broadcast live on television and in the official ISRO accounts on social networks.
The mission also made the headlines of the global press for its economic price. As an example, the budget for the Avengers: Endgame movie was more than double at an estimated cost of US $ 356 million.
But this is not the first time that ISRO has been praised for its savings. Its 2014 Mars mission cost US $ 74 million, one tenth of the budget of the United States Maven orbital mission.
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