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Chandrayaan-2, India’s Ambitious Expedition to Moon’s South Pole, Make Headlines Globally

The partial failure of the Chandrayaan-2 mission - an orbiter remains in operation - would delay the country's bid to join an elite club of nations

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Chandrayaan 2, India, Moon
While India may not have stuck the landing on its first try, its attempt highlighted how its engineering prowess and decades of space development have combined with its global ambitions. Pixabay

Chandrayaan-2, India’s ambitious expedition to the moon’s south pole, made headlines globally even as Vikram, the lander of the mission, lost contact with the orbiter moments before its scheduled soft landing on Saturday. Here’s how the foreign media covered the event.

The New York Times lauded India’s “engineering prowess and decades of space development combined with its global ambitions”.

“While India may not have stuck the landing on its first try, its attempt highlighted how its engineering prowess and decades of space development have combined with its global ambitions,” it said.

“The partial failure of the Chandrayaan-2 mission – an orbiter remains in operation – would delay the country’s bid to join an elite club of nations that have landed in one piece on the moon’s surface,” it added.

Chandrayaan 2, India, Moon
Chandrayaan-2, India’s ambitious expedition to the moon’s south pole, made headlines globally even as Vikram, the lander of the mission, lost contact with the orbiter. Pixabay

American magazine Wired called the Chandrayaan-2 mission India’s “most ambitious” space mission yet.

All is not lost for the mission — said the online edition of Wired on Chandrayaan-2 lander’s “deviation from its expected trajectory”.

“The loss of the Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover it was carrying to the lunar surface would be a big blow for India’s space programme …But all is not lost for the mission,” it reported.

Saying, “India loses contact with its lander as it attempted to land on the moon”, the Washington Post said that the incident could “now set back India’s growing space ambitions, seen as a reflection of the aspirations of its young population”.

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“Social media erupted in support of the space agency and its scientists despite the setback… The incident could now set back India’s growing space ambitions, seen as a reflection of the aspirations of its young population”.

“One of the successes of India’s space programme has been its cost effectiveness. Chandrayaan-2 cost $141 million, a small fraction of what the US spent on its historic Apollo moon mission,” the daily said.

CNN reported on the space mission with a headline saying: “India’s historic landing on moon’s polar surface may have failed”.

According to the BBC, the mission made global headlines because it was “so cheap”.

Chandrayaan 2, India, Moon
The New York Times lauded India’s “engineering prowess and decades of space development combined with its global ambitions”. Pixabay

“The budget for Avengers: Endgame, for instance, was more than double at an estimated $356 million. But this isn’t the first time ISRO has been hailed for its thrift. Its 2014 Mars mission cost $74 million, a tenth of the budget for the American Maven orbiter,” it said.

In an article titled — India’s moon landing suffers last-minute communications loss — the Guardian newspaper quoted Mathieu Weiss, a representative in India for France’s space agency CNES, as saying: “India is going where probably the future settlements of humans will be in 20 years, in 50 years, 100 years.”

French daily Le Monde, reporting on the mission, called it “A broken dream” and said that the Indian newspapers “were quick to titrate their websites, after announcing the worse scenario that could expect the Indian Space Research Organization…”

The daily mentioned the success rate of soft landing on the moon, but in percentage. “So far, scientists point out, only 45 per cent of missions aimed at alleviating have been successful,” it said.

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In a last stage snag, communications between Vikram lander and the orbiter got snapped as the former was only 2.1 km away from its designated landing spot on the moon’s South Pole, leading to suspense over the fate of Rs 978 crore Chandrayaan-2 mission.

Following the setback, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the scientists of ISRO and inspired them to march on, saying: “You came as close as you could. Stay steady and look ahead.” (IANS)

Next Story

Uber India Rolls Out Driver Reward Programme “Uber Plus”

Uber India has planned free doctor access and micro loans for drivers

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Uber
Uber has rolled out a reward programme for drivers in India. Wikimedia Commons

Global ride-hailing major Uber on Wednesday rolled out a driver rewards programme called “Uber Plus” in India that will let drivers earn points for rides so that they can win free doctor consultations, concessions on education modules, access to micro loans, faster airport pick ups and savings on vehicle maintenance costs.

These points will be earned by the driver partners in 13 cities over a fixed period of every three months and can be then accumulated to unlock higher rating tiers such as blue, gold, platinum and diamond which, in turn, will let them access better rewards, informed the company.

“Under the programme, the Uber drivers get access to four tiers. To unlock these awards, they need to maintain a certain threshold rating and keep a low cancellation rate to unlock access to these benefits,” Prabhjeet Singh, Head of Cities, Uber India and South Asia, told IANS.

Uber Plus
Under this programme, Uber drivers get access to four tiers. Pixabay

“We have always worked towards prioritising their welfare and making them feel valued, respected and appreciated. ‘Uber Plus’ is an effort in that direction and will enable our driver partners to access greater benefits during their everyday journeys,” he added.

The rewards and offers are only available to drivers who use the Uber driver app, are participating in Uber Plus and meet applicable criteria.

Asked if this initiative will help in bringing down the number of cancellations, Singh replied: “We encourage ri ders to flag such cases if the driver cancels because the mode of payment is not cash, etc. That will help us take strict action against such drivers.

“We want to encourage behaviour which helps improve the marketplace reliability. Less the cancellation, the chances of the trip getting completed goes up and, overall, the network efficiency increases.”

An initial pilot phase was carried out in Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh and Mumbai and now, Uber Plus is being rolled out across 10 new cities, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi, Guwahati and Jaipur.

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“We also want to reward drivers who have lower cancellations,” said Uber.

Under the driver programme, Uber has partnered with “Ayushman Bharat” to provide access to free healthcare to its drivers, wherein they have access to free healthcare of up to Rs 500,000 in empanelled hospitals. (IANS)