Only half of the lunar missions involving landing on moon surface have succeeded in the last six decades, according to NASA.
Bengaluru: Evidently moved by an inconsolable Dr K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday told space scientists not to be saddened by the setback for lander 'Vikram' but look forward to a "new dawn and brighter tomorrow."
Mr Modi, who comforted Dr Sivan and hugged him when the latter broke down over loss of communication with 'Vikram', said in his address at ISTRAC that the nation is proud of them and stands with them. "We came very close but we need to cover more ground in the times to come. Learning from today will make us stronger and better. The nation is proud of our space programme and scientists. The best is yet to come in our space programme. There are new frontiers to discover and new places to go. India is with you," Modi said.
"Effort was worth it and so was the journey. It will make us stronger and better. There will be a new dawn and brighter tomorrow... I am with you, the nation is with you," he added.
Mr Modi said the Moon has been romanticised in poems and literature to such an extent that that Chandrayaan-2, in its last steps, ran to embrace it, a reference to 'Vikram's' failure to lower its speed as planned during its descent to the lunar surface. "This is how poets would describe it", he said, adding that the will to reach the Moon has become stronger and more intense.
The Prime Minister commenced his speech, delivered in a mix of Hindi and English, with "Bharat mata ki jai" (Hail Mother India) slogan, said he could understand the feelings of scientists a few hours earlier when it became clear that Chandrayaan-2's final journey did not go as per plan. "Your eyes said a lot and I could read the sadness on your face. I have lived those moments with you," he said, adding that this was why he did not stay for long with them in the early hours and came back in the morning, not to preach to them but "be inspired by them."
Mr Modi remarked "When the message of communication cut-off with the mission was received, you were all shaken," as he sought to lift their morale, asserting that it would trengthen their resolve for future successes. He recalled a number of ISRO's successful missions, including the one to Mars and described ISRO as an "encyclopedia of successes."