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The country will likely have to wait for a future mission to join the elite club of nations that have landed on the moon.


BANGALORE, India — India’s attempt to land a robotic spacecraft near the moon’s South Pole on Saturday appeared to end in failure.


The initial parts of the descent went smoothly. But less than two miles above the surface, the trajectory diverged from the planned path. The mission control room fell silent as communications from the lander were lost. A member of the staff was seen patting the back of K. Sivan, the director of India’s space program.
He later announced that the spacecraft was operating as expected until an altitude of 2.1 kilometers, or 1.3 miles. “The data is being analyzed,” he said.

探测器下降刚开始很顺利,但在距离地面不到两英里的地方,轨迹偏离了计划的路径。 当与着陆器的通讯丢失时,任务控制中心一片沉默。 一名工作人员正在安慰着主任K. Sivan. 后来他宣布,根据数据分析,该航天器按预期运行,直到距离地面2.1公里的地方失去联系。

Chandrayaan-2 launched in July, taking a long, fuel-efficient path to the moon. Earlier this week, the 3,200-pound lander, named Vikram after Vikram A. Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space program, separated from the orbiter and maneuvered toward the moon’s surface.

月船二号于今年七月发射,采用了长途,省油的登月路径, 本周早些时候, 这艘3200磅以印度太空计划之父 Vikram A. Sarabhai命名的太空船,与轨道飞行器分离,并转向月球准备着陆。

Fifteen minutes before the planned landing, the Vikram lander was traveling at more than 2,000 miles per hour at an altitude of about 20 miles. Four of its engines fired to quickly slow it down as it headed toward its landing site on a high, flat plain near the South Pole. Later in the landing process, it appeared that Vikram was descending too fast and then data from the spacecraft ended.

在计划着陆前15分钟, Vikram着陆器以每小时2000英里的速度飞行, 高度约为20英里, 在南极附近的一个平坦的高原上,在飞向着陆点的同时,它的四个发动机迅速点火并将飞行器的速度降下来。

The moon is littered with the remains of spacecraft that have tried and failed to land in one piece. Two American craft, from the robotic Surveyor series that helped blaze the trail for Apollo, crashed in the 1960s. Several probes from the Soviet Luna program also collided with the moon’s surface.

月球上到处都是探测器的残骸,这些飞船都未能完整着陆。 20世纪60年代美国坠毁的两个探测器,为后来的阿波罗任务铺平了道路。前苏联的几个探测器也与月球相撞。

Silence fell on the control room of the Indian Space Research Organization in Bangalore as communications from the Vikram lander of the Chandrayaan-2 moon mission were lost.CreditJagadeesh Nv/EPA, via Shutterstock

(在班加罗尔ISRO 的飞行控制中心一片安静)

The makers of Beresheet and Chandrayaan-2 both noted the low cost of their missions — $100 million to $150 million, which is much cheaper than those typically launched by NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA is currently trying to tap into entrepreneurial innovation for upcoming robotic moon missions; the first of these low-cost trips is scheduled to launch in 2021.

Beresheet和月船二号的制造商都知道他们的任务成本很低,只有1亿到1.5亿美元,这比美国宇航局和欧洲航天局通常发射的要便宜得多。美国宇航局目前正试图利用企业创新,来推动即将到来的机器人月球任务。 这些低成本的任务将会在2021年发射。

The outcomes of the Indian and Israeli missions highlight that lower costs can mean higher risk of failure, which NASA will need to adjust to as it pursues a lower-cost approach.


“At this point, it is a partial failure,” he said. “We will push until the end.”
While the mission may briefly soften the muscular nationalism espoused by Mr. Modi, whose government is already facing challenges from job losses and international criticism of his recent moves in the disputed territory of Kashmir, the prime minister tried to refrx Saturday’s landing attempt as an opportunity for improvement in brief remarks after contact was lost.
Hours later and back at the space center in Bangalore, the prime minister greeted the scientists, engineers and staff of the space agency after delivering a motivational speech that was broadcast nationally in India. He stopped short of stating explicitly that the lander had failed.
“We came very close, but we will need to cover more ground in the times to come,” he said.

“在现在,是一个部分失败,”他说道。 “我们将会坚持到最后”。
该任务可能会短暂地软化莫迪所支持的强硬民族主义。 印度政府已经面临失业挑战,最近有关他在争议地区克什米尔的行动也给印度带来国际社会的批评。 在通讯失联后,莫迪总理作出了简短的评论以重新定义着陆的尝试。

Hundreds of millions of Indians still live deep in poverty; India’s philosophy is that space development can be used for human development. Its satellites help predict storms and save countless lives by sending out early warnings. And it hopes future business opportunities in space will create more work that lifts up more Indians.
While the landing may have failed, India could try for the moon again. And it also plans to build future robotic explorers headed for Venus, Mars and the sun. In the next decade, it intends to send Indian astronauts into Earth orbit aboard its own spacecraft for the first time.