The entire country of India is mourning today over the loss and almost successful attempt to land a robotic spacecraft on the Moon. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) lost contact with Chandrayaan-2 when the spacecraft was approaching the Moon’s the South Pole on Saturday. The South Pole of the Moon has been noted to be one of the toughest places to reach on the Moon due to the lack of light and areas for a spacecraft to land on. If the mission was had been successful, India would have joined an elite group of countries who have landed on the moon in some way, shape, or form, along with being only the second country to land a spacecraft on the Moon’s South Pole. China was the first to achieve this accomplishment in January of this year. Their lander and rover are still operating as of press time.
However, it wasn’t a total failure for India’s mission. They still have a fully operational orbiter that will continue to gather scientific information for the country and their future missions in the long run. Along with the low costs of the mission compared to those done by NASA and the European Space Agency. Most people will probably consider this as a very successful mission for a country that has not even been independent for 80 years, especially with having a space program that was only formed around the same time that the United States had Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking the surface of the moon. This is huge news for India, and what some people can consider being the start of the next space race back to the Moon, or even beginning the race to Mars.
Currently, there isn’t another country or company sending any spacecrafts to the Moon in upcoming months. Blue Origin, which is owned by Amazon founder and richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, will be the next to try to land a moon lander on the surface of the Moon come 2020. NASA has the Artemis program, which will land multiple landers and rovers on the surface of the Moon’s South Pole in preparation of the 2024 Artemis 3 crewed mission. If no other country gets to the moon first, it will be the first to have humans on the moon since Apollo 17 in 1972.
NASA will need to take notes on low-cost missions, as India and Israel’s low-cost missions have ended up in failures, if they want to succeed in doing more low-cost missions. Otherwise, this could be a situation where NASA could end up with egg on their face if they failed at creating a successful low-cost lander.