In a bid to encourage India for its future space expeditions, Tom Soderstrom, chief innovation and technology officer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said that space missions are expected to fail.
Soderstrom added that failures must not deter the scientific community in India that saw the Vikram lander not making it to the lunar surface from attempting again, as this is the business out there.
India was riding on high hopes for Chandrayaan-2 mission, which was India’s second mission to the moon to study the extent of water molecules on the moon’s surface, launched on July 22, 2019. However, the mission eventually failed.
While it was expected to make a soft landing on September 7, it was found that Chandrayaan 2’s Vikram lander’s braking thrusters had failed and it hard landed around 500 metres of the designated landing site.
NASA Failed It Too
Soderstrom told IANS that landing a rover is a very difficult thing. “So we get super nervous every single time. We never know if it’s going to work there, one little thing goes wrong and the whole thing is expected to fail,” he added.
While this is one of the few setbacks that India has witnessed for its lunar missions, Soderstrom said it’s a difficult business and that NASA has also failed before tasting success.
“That’s the business because it’s a difficult business. I wouldn’t lose heart just because we lost one or two rovers. When we went to the Moon, it failed time and time again, but eventually, it worked. You learn,” the NASA official was quoted as saying by ET.
Time To Work Together
Highlighting the need for bringing scientists together, Soderstrom added that the key here for the scientific community is to share all that learning so that more people can participate in the endeavour to reach the next frontier in space.
“I think science and technology is the true ambassador across the world. In the end, the Earth is ours and if we, one day, need to find a new Earth, it’s going to be the whole Earth that has to pull it together because it’s a big job,” he added.