GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA
“Not failure, but low aim is sin,” said Benjamin Mays, an American educator. When India’s ‘Moon mission’ came tantalisingly close to the finish but could not deliver the ‘coup de grace’, the entire country seemed to suggest the same to Chairman of the Indian Space Research organisation (ISRO) K Sivan. After the fiasco, the eminent scientist appeared down but not out. He wore a dignified look while interacting with his colleagues and juniors. In a moment of emotion, he broke down while seeing off Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sivan had a magnificent dream – Chandrayaan-2 on the moon. However, even as questions on whether reconnection with the lander gear instrument ‘Vikram’ would be possible in the coming days have surfaced, it is business as usual for Sivan and his dedicated band of scientists. They are all professional scientists, who know the ways and means of handling success as well as failure. In science, success is honed through rounds of permutations and combinations. The ISRO plans its ambitious ‘Gaganyaan’ as scheduled in 2022. Its solar mission, Aditya, is on track. ISRO is also aiming at the moon again. Then it hopes to bring samples from the lunar polar region. Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been roped in for the mission. The ISRO-JAXA mission will follow the ‘Gaganyaan’. Each mission has its own aim. It should be noted that Japan has not been able to reach the moon. More than 16,000 scientists worked on the Chandrayaan-2 project: reveals how complex and intriguing the project was. The lunar orbiter, however, is still functional with its data transmitting ability fully intact. The whole of India spent a sleepless night on Friday. Emotions vacillated and the efforts of ISRO scientists were highly appreciated despite the near-miss. Cheers, hugs, consolation – all should work in ISRO’s favour in its missionary zeal to go ahead, notwithstanding the aberration. After initial failures, ISRO has grown by leaps and bounds over the last three decades. It is our pride and has had many feathers in its overflowing cap.