Closure over ‘Vikram’

The scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation worked tirelessly to put the lander Vikram on the lunar surface — an accomplishment in itself which failed by a whisker. Subsequently, it was imperative to locate the lander, to analyse the causes of failure, learn lessons and ensure the success of future missions. In this context, it is puzzling why ISRO, in spite of its capabilities, had shied away from sharing data about the crash — its location, images and analysis — which the U.S.’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration did (Page 1, “Chennai skywatcher first to spot debris from Chandrayaan-2 lander, says NASA” and Inside pages, “ISRO silent on NASA pictures”, both December 4). Here, the Chennai-based freelance space observer deserves appreciation for his passion and resolve in detecting the fate of the lander. But more importantly, for demonstrating that ‘rocket science’ need not be ‘rocket science’ any longer. NASA deserves admiration for its open data sharing, listening and acknowledging the contribution of Mr. Subramanian (Inside pages, “Searching for Vikram, pixel by pixel”, December 4). This episode is an instance of what a combination of free data sharing and hobby can achieve; this needs to be replicated in various domains such as the environment, health care, the economy, energy, women’s safety and politics.

A. Venkatasubramanian,


It proved not to be moonshine when Mr. Subramanian’s dedicated and inquisitive efforts bore fruit in unravelling the mystery surrounding Vikram. It puts paid to the ISRO’s conjecture that Vikram had landed “bodily intact and in a tilted manner”. The young man deserves accolades for his successful and well-aimed pursuit that will give valuable inputs for future space missions.

Ayyasseri Raveendranath,

Aranmula, Kerala


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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 8:35:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/closure-over-vikram/article30170899.ece

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