back to article Valorous Vikram lunar lander – or Star Wreck: Enterprise? India's Moon craft goes all silent running during descent

India's mission to the Lunar South Pole, known as Chandrayaan 2, suffered a setback early Saturday morning Bengaluru (Bangalore) time, when the spacecraft's Vikram Lander stopped communicating during its descent to the Moon's surface. In an update posted to Twitter at 0300 IST (2130 GMT), the Indian Space Research Organization …

  1. I3N

    Too soon ...

    737 MAX software? ...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too soon ...

      Random Win10 update; it will reboot in another 12 hours or so.

      Unless of course the update bjorked the descent thrusters.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge


    Maybe the natives up there are getting fed up with us earthlings dumping stuff on their world?

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Moonmen?

      Obviously it was eaten by the Soupdragon.

    2. james 68

      Re: Moonmen?

      Surely you mean Clangers? Perhaps the soup dragon was feeling testy.

      1. Tom Paine

        Re: Moonmen?

        They're not very fond of intrudulators.

    3. Captain Scarlet

      Re: Moonmen?

      At least have the decency of knocking at the door before ripping my carpets to shredds, stop ruining my holiday home!

      As an act of revenge we will make some poor saps overpay for Symantec.

  3. LDS Silver badge

    Some fan of Modi used Hindu distance units?

    Anyway, it went as most offshored IT projects....

    1. Raj

      Re: Some fan of Modi used Hindu distance units?

      A political rant, racism and reference to unrelated business all in one post . You win the prize.

      1. Sanctimonious Prick

        Re: Some fan of Modi used Hindu distance units?


        That's not racism. They're just maintaining their reputation.

        1. Evil Auditor

          Re: Some fan of Modi used Hindu distance units?

          Admittedly I had to chuckle while reading this. Then again, on a second thought, the main reason why an IT offshoring programme went lopsided was not the Indian colleagues but the fscked-up setup from our western side. The Indian IT company had lots of experience working in a certain way, i.e. clients submit their specifications and they implement and deliver them - and they did it well. But our side had a different idea altogether: "we" did not want to lose control over the development process and hence broke open a well-defined process, creating lots of ill-defined interfaces, wanting to manage the Indian development teams from our offices in Europe/USA. It didn't work well.

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: Some fan of Modi used Hindu distance units?

            From my own (admittedly limited) experiences, the staff of ISRO are really good - at least a match for the rest of the world's finest.

            But when it comes to out-sourcing it is a different matter because we in the west chose a "partner" based on the cheapest deal. Then we are surprised we get crap service because the brightest Indians are earning more than most of us in other companies!

          2. Raj

            Re: Some fan of Modi used Hindu distance units?

            Indeed . Offshoring has been going on for 3 decades now . Indian companies have been uniforms dismissed as incompetent at it, yet the business has grown from $1-2 billion a year in earnings to over $200 billion now. Now, either they’re sufficiently competent to grow business that much - and it’s a competitive business - or, those who are offshoring are substantially MORE incompetent over the course of a generation.

            Either way, the standard ire at the topic is, at best, directed at the wrong entities who only see a guy ‘taking away’ a job and fall over trying to blame him.

            1. Nightkiller

              Re: Some fan of Modi used Hindu distance units?

              mumble,mumble...something about business drifting to the lowest common denominator.....mumble,mumble

          3. 's water music

            Re: Some fan of Modi used Hindu distance units?

            @Evil Auditor, damn, now I have the spend teh rest of the day working out which one here is you

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Some fan of Modi used Hindu distance units?

      So are Hindu distance units any more insane than the "imperial" units favoured by the USA, you know that are not even identical to those of their (ex-)colonial masters?

      1. Raj

        Re: Some fan of Modi used Hindu distance units?

        India uses the metric system . ‘Modi fans Hindu distance units’ - while there might be some such thing, are entirely irrelevant to the topic and are more a reflection of the commenters religio-political bigotry than anything else.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Indian take away

    Refused delivery?

  5. Joe W Silver badge

    Space exploration is difficult!

    Getting there is a milestone already, I keep my fingers crossed that the thing did not repeat the impactor experiment!

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Space exploration is difficult!

      Unless it hit and destroyed those tardigrades of course. Not that as a biologist I’m worried about them contaminating the moon. Yes, SOME of them survived a period outside the ISS but they were not crawling about up there, there were in their desiccated suspended animation state and survival was assessed by making them all wet and warm again and seeing how many reanimated.

      Those tardigrades on the moon are in a hard vacuum and in a very, very dry environment. They will not be waking up or walking about the regolith. Awake they need what all multicellular and the vast majority of unicellular life need: atmosphere, water and food in a suitable environment. All absent on Luna.

    2. Evil Auditor

      Re: Space exploration is difficult!

      If Lester was still around, he might be pondering over sending a paper spacecraft to moon...

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    There is an extraterrestrial explanation for all this and here it is -->

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      All explanations for what has happened on the moon are, by definition, Extraterrestrial.

      Personally I think it was about to land on top of the old North Korean moonbase so they shot it down.

      1. Teiwaz

        Personally I think it was about to land on top of the old North Korean moonbase so they shot it down.

        More likely they'd attempt to capture it and resell it on the Black Market.

  7. Jove Bronze badge

    Were they using ...

    ... Exim by any chance to communicate with Ground Control?

  8. Zog_but_not_the_first

    All these worlds are yours...

    Except the moon!?

    Hang on, that's not what we voted for.

  9. Conundrum1885

    Re. 404

    404: Moon Not Found

    I did hear that it nearly worked. Well done for getting this far, it demonstrated considerable technical skills even to reach lunar orbit.

    Might yet be recoverable if its just as I suspected a comms issue and the rest of the lander is running.

    If it s a fuel leak then not such good odds.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Re. 404

      From ground radio telescopes it seems to have started tumbling, then ceased transmitting anything shortly afterwards. The footage (such as it was) matches this - the craft thought it was upside down at one point.

      So nope, it lithobraked hard. Landing is difficult.

      I hope they figure out what went wrong and try again!

      Disappointed by the footage though. People clapping isn't interesting or informative. Show us the telemetry displays and somebody explaining what it means.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Raj

        Re: Re. 404

        That’s been the common refrain of Indian watchers for some time - give us a continuous split screen of the telemetry even if you’re otherwise going to repeatedly pan the mission controllers.

      3. Long John Brass

        Re: Re. 404

        Disappointed by the footage though. People clapping isn't interesting or informative. Show us the telemetry displays and somebody explaining what it means.

        Am I the only one that really misses the Space-X technical videos? Not to harsh the talking heads they drag into the launch-cast; But I really don't give a rats arse and would much rather watch the telemetry & listen in on "the net" the way they used to in the old technical only or whatever they called those videos

        1. Tom Paine

          Re: Re. 404

          The ground loop.

  10. FuzzyTheBear
    Thumb Up

    Major achievement

    There's kudos for India here .. getting in orbit , sending back images of earth , getting into orbit around the moon is already a major achievement. That the lander stopped responding ( reason x y z ) is just a detail. Would have been cool if it worked , but just to get a probe in that general direction , separation from orbiter etc is a sign of good science and a great achievement. This is not a failure by any means , it's an opportunity to learn and make things right in the next mission. Congrats are in order.

    1. Raj

      Re: Major achievement

      ISRO has further mentioned that due to the precision of orbit injection , the orbiters planned life was extended from the original 1-2 years to potentially 7 years .

      ISRO got almost everything right in this . It sucks to lose the lander a mere 2km from surface but it all worked perfectly until then . It’s easier to land on Mars than the moon because the gravity conditions are closer to the Earth compared to what it is on the moon .

  11. Anonymous Coward

    It was the moon tardigrades...

    They commandeered the lander, and right now they are using it to create the initial building blocks of their invasion fleet, patiently waiting for the day they will return to this big blue marble to reclaim their ancient homeland from the cruel bipeds that exiled them.

    1. Raj

      Re: It was the moon tardigrades...

      Jokes on them when the rover battery dies after 500m and there’s no local supercharger to plug it into .

  12. DCFusor

    So, its altimeter was off by 2.1 km?

    That ground thing sure is coming towards me fast. I wonder if it'll be my friend?

    1. Raj

      No, one of the fine braking thrusters overcompensated and tilted the lander over.

      The ISRO have also stated that he lander has been found by the orbiters cameras, and that they’re trying to communicate with it . This suggests it didn’t hard land, because if it was in many pieces there would be no point in trying to talk to it.

  13. jgarbo

    Latest: Lander found. ISRO trying to reconnect. BTW, NASA's success rate for lunar missions: only 60%. So let's wait and see if they can restart the lander. That'd make India, 100% success rate...

  14. mark4155

    Steptoe & Son

    The BBC are relaunching the classic 60's comedy Steptoe & Son. Albert and Harold Steptoe have been evicted from their scrap yard in Oil Drum Lane and now roam the lunar surface in search of scrap metal, complete with horse and cart, (forget the name of the horse) for scrap is plentiful....cue sound of typical B rated film flashback music..

    Toodle Pip.

    1. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

      Re: Steptoe & Son

      IIRC it was 'Hercules'

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Steptoe & Son

        Then 'Delilah' after old Hercules bit the dust.

  15. oldfartuk

    Seems it landed a bit heavy, but its in one piece, its been spotted by the orbiter. However, the heavy landing seems to have done sufficient damage to bjork it.

    I bet somewhere inside ther a 4 or 6 pin plug hanging off the PSU , jarred with the impact.......just needs one of the 3rd line support team to nip over and push it back on...

  16. Conundrum1885

    6 pin plug?

    Doubt it. More than likely an IDC based one.

    Also do the BORG still use standard voltages?

  17. Frank Bitterlich

    Ark Fleet Ship B?

    With Chandrayaan-1, at least they admitted that it was not so much of a landing, more of a crash "impact probe".

    They wouldn't attempt to get rid of a few telephone sanitizers, hairdressers and account executives that way, would they?

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