‘Your best is yet to come’: PM reassures Isro scientists after Chandrayaan-2 heartbreak
BENGALURU (ISRO CENTRE): Just hours after Indian Space Research Organisation’s mission control complex lost communication with Chandryaan-2 Vikram lander during its 15 minutes of the final descent on Moon’s surface, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday morning returned to the Isro control room here to boost the morale of space scientists, who became gloomy after last night’s setback. The PM was in the control room last night when Isro lost contact with Vikram lander at 1.51am while it was just 2.1km altitude from the lunar surface.
Praising the space scientists, Modi said, “Today, our resolve to touch and embrace Moon has only become stronger. Sisters and brothers of India, for the last few hours, the entire nation was awake with you. We were awake to have solidarity with our scientists, who had embarked on one of the most ambitious missions of our space programme. We came very close (to land on Moon) but we will need to cover more ground in times to come. Every Indian is filled with sense of pride. We are proud of our scientists, their hard work and determination.”
The PM patted the back of an emotional Isro chairman K Sivan and embraced him to console him on the loss of Vikram lander. “Friends, I understood your condition last night. Your eyes said a lot of things and I could read your gloomy faces. Therefore, I did not stay much longer among you. You had not slept for hours. Every person connected to this mission was in a different mind frame. Therefore, there were many questions. You all had worked hard and suddenly everything stopped working in front of you. I had also felt those tense moments with you where you all looked shattered. I too had those obvious questions that why did it happen and how did it happen. You had lots of expectations from Vikram lander because you had put a lot of efforts. But friends, these hurdles can’t stop us but they have only hardened our resolve. We must have faced a big hurdle in our path, but we did not go off the track.”
In his 23-minute speech, Modi kept inspiring the scientists. “Your hard work and determination have ensured a better life, not only for our Indian citizens but for other nations. It is the outcome of that innovative genes, that several people have got access to better quality of life, including better healthcare and education facilities. India feels there will be many more opportunities to be proud of and rejoice. Thank you all. We are full of confidence that when it comes to space programme, the best is yet to come.”
The PM told Isro scientists that “there are new frontiers to discover and new places to go”. “We will rise to the occasion. I want to say, ‘India is with you’. You are exceptional professionals who have made incredible contribution to national progress. You have always given your best and given us several opportunities to smile. True to your nature, you had ventured into a place where no one had gone before,” he said.
Modi said, “The teacher of knowledge is science. In science, there is no failure but only experiment and efforts. Here, effort sows the seeds of new science and foundation of new expectations and show us a new light. The learning from today will make us stronger and better. There will be a new dawn and better tomorrow soon.”
Recalling the past glories of the Indian space agency, the PM said, “Before Chandrayaan-2, Isro scientists had successfully completed the Mars mission. Because of your effort, India was the first to reach Mars in first attempt. Before this, Chandrayaan-1 was first in the world to discover water on Moon. We had released more than 100 satellites in one go. Once Isro has its record book filled with glories, then one or two hurdles can’t put your successful journey off the track.”
To lighten the sad mood in the control room, he said when writers and authors would write about last night’s event, they would definitely write that as “we had talked and written so much about Moon that it had changed the nature of Moon. Therefore, the writers would write that at the last moments, Chandrayaan’s Vikram ran towards Moon to embrace it”.
While thanking the families of Isro scientists for their personal sacrifices for the country’s development, Modi said, “I came here this morning not to give you lecture but to draw inspiration from you. Your are the sea of inspiration. Scientific mindset transforms sadness into expectations and scientific mindset changes dreams into reality. Therefore, I thank you all for your great effort.”