Op-Ed: We Will Rise Again And Touch The Moon

By Ashutosh Mishra

Bhubaneswar: The last minute glitch in India’s moon mission broke the hearts of ISRO scientists. It was also a heart breaking moment for the rest of the country with lakhs of people glued to their TV sets to hear the news of lander Vikram’s touchdown on the surface of the moon.

But as luck would have it the scientists manning the mission at the ISRO control room lost contact with the lander. Having worked hard on the mission for years together one can understand the disappointment of the scientists. But as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who was there with them to watch the landing live, rightly pointed out it was not a failure but a learning experience.

“Every difficulty, every struggle, every obstacle teaches us something new. It inspires to invent newer technologies. And this determines our future success. The greatest teacher of knowledge is science. There is no failure in science, only experiments and efforts,” said the Prime Minister in his address even as not only the scientists at the ISRO headquarters but also lakhs of Indians sitting before their TV sets sought to control their emotions.

Mature and sagacious Modi not only lent a sympathetic shoulder to the inconsolable ISRO chief, K. Sivan but also exhorted him and his team members to keep trying. “The learnings from today will make us stronger and better; there will be a new dawn. The best is yet to come in our space programme; India is with you. Countless people have got access to a better life due to the hard work of our space scientists. Our determination to touch moon has become even stronger, we came very close but we need to cover more ground,” he said.

More than the inspirational speech of the Prime Minister, his touching gesture of hugging and consoling Sivan was important. It showed that he is a nation head with a heart. He is as human as any of us and cares for his people. He is ready to accept their failures and also celebrates their successes.

Modi is right in urging our space scientists not to lose heart and keep trying. In the history of space science there have been many failures and we have learnt from each of them. In this field, like in many others, failures are truly the pillars of success.

On January 28, 1986, many people were watching live when space shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven astronauts on board. At fault was the O-ring seal on the right solid rocket booster, which ruptured upon lift-off and allowed a jet of pressurized gas to rush from the motor. The resulting destruction caused the shuttle’s liquid hydrogen fuel to explode and aerodynamic forces to tear apart the orbiter. The shuttle program was suspended for 32 months.

There are other such examples but each failure made the scientists working on these missions even more determined to achieve success. We are sure our scientists at ISRO, too, will succeed. Like the Prime Minister said the nation is extremely proud of them.

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)