Failure is a Part of Space Missions: NASA’s Message to ISRO

The chief innovation and technology officer, Tom Soderstrom at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, gave a courageous message to India after its failure in space expeditions. He said space missions are expected to fail, which 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.

Chandrayaan-2 was the second moon mission of India that aimed to study the extent of water molecules on the moon’s surface. The mission was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on July 22, 2019, but the mission failed eventually. India was profoundly hopeful to explore the south pole of the moon that hasn’t explored much so far. Vikram lander was likely to make a soft landing on September 7, but it failed and landed around 500 meters of the designated landing site.

The debris of the Vikram lander on the lunar surface has been discovered. However, there is a controversy who found it first; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or ISRO. Tom Soderstrom told IANS, "It's a very difficult thing to land a rover. It's amazing that it ever works. 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 further said that it is a complicated business, and NASA has also witnessed several failures before testing 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," he stated.

He called for work together as he said that the key here is for "us to share all that learning so that more people can participate in the endeavor 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 stressed.

"We're very much interested in Jupiter's moon Europa that has liquid water under its icy surface and from time to time erupts in huge geysers. There may be microbial life there. So we're going to go to Europa," said Soderstrom.

Soderstrom also expressed his hope to explore Mars further. He said they would continue research to know whether life was there or not. If we can find that once the planet was brimming with life, that'll be very interesting," the researcher said. Additionally, he informed that NASA found nearly 4,100 confirmed exoplanets, and 29 out of them undoubtedly contains water that makes sure the presence of life in some form or the other.