The news of Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander being located on the lunar surface by ISRO on Sunday has lent a ray of hope among Indians of the space agency re-establishing contact with the module, with many of them expressing their emotions on social media, while keeping their fingers crossed.
From Twitter to Facebook, netizens expressed a range of sentiments — pride, curiosity, hope and patriotism — and many shared pictures of the lander or the Indian tricolour.
“Chandrayaan-2: ISRO has found out the exact location of Vikram Lander on lunar surface. Orbiter has clicked thermal image of Lander. Communication yet to be established. Come on Vikram lander… Come on,” @AskAnshul tweeted.
India’s bold mission to soft-land on the moon suffered a setback with the ‘Vikram’ module losing communication with ground stations, just 2.1 km from the lunar surface during its final descent in the early hours of Saturday.
Considered as the “most complex” stage of the country’s second expedition to the moon, the lander was on a powered descent for a soft landing when it lost contact.
But, ISRO chairman K Sivan on Sunday said, “Yes, we have located the lander on the lunar surface. It must have been a hard-landing”.
The image of the lander was captured by the camera of Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter, which is healthy, safe and functioning normally in the intended orbit around the Moon, the space agency said.
Notwithstanding the scientific intricacies of it all, the news sent waves of cheer among the Twitterati as they could not contain their excitement, and #VikramLanderFound began to trend worldwide on the microblogging site.
Even the government of Israel’s official Twitter account said, “Israel followed #VikramLander’s ambitious journey to the moon with great hope”.
“As we learned from Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander, it’s never easy, and yet it’s a great achievement for #ISRO & Indian science. We’re positive that #India will reach the moon (& beyond)!,” it tweeted.
Israel followed #VikramLander‘s
ambitious journey to the moon with great hope.
As we learned from Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander, it’s never easy, and yet it’s a great achievement for #ISRO & Indian science.
— Israel ישראל (@Israel) September 8, 2019
In the early hours of Saturday, countless Indians had sat glued to their television sets, praying for a successful landing of Vikram, but it soon turned into a heartbreak despite the module coming tantalising close to the lunar surface.
Another senior ISRO official, however, said, time was running out and the possibility of re-establishing communication looks “less and less probable”.
But, netizens continued to harbour hope, with many even content with the news of the landing itself.
“#VikramLanderFound ISRO– where are you? Lander Vikram — on the moon ISRO — say something. Lander rover — , ” Sanjeev Gangwar, another user tweeted.
User @onlydimbe shared a clip from the climax scene in the movie ‘Chak De India’ where the main protagonist gets emotionally overwhelmed, saying, “Every Indian Right now #VikramLander #VikramLanderFound”.
Ayon Bhattacharjee, tweeted, “#VikramLanderFound Lander Vikram Located on Moon Surface, trying for communication,” and shared two banners, one showing a lunar surface, and the other bearing the word hope in bold letters.
In between, many also posted humour-laden tweets, to acknowledge the landing as reported by ISRO.
But, the feeling of hope and pride in all tweets was unmistakeable.
“When I was a kid, I saw people in tears when India lost in cricket. Last night I saw a lot of people in tears because the Vikram lander failed. Doesn’t that tell a story of changing India. When kids can spend a sleepless night for a scientific endeavour, India is winning. Jai Hind,” wrote @ayonbh.