September 8, 2019: it appears the Indian lunar probe may have landed on the moon. Engineers have "spotted" it and are now analyzing the data. No link. Story easily found.
How many times did the US put men on the moon and bring them back to earth?
Apparently that's more difficult to do than it seems. India, today, failed to simply land a small probe on the surface of the moon. And this is 50 years after Apollo 11, and one would assume the technology has improved since that time.
Landing on the moon has proven to be tricky, said Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, the head of the Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi think tank.
“Since there was a deviation from the planned trajectory, the central engine could have malfunctioned. The other thing could be that the data transmission link got lost,” she said. “It could just be the communication link getting snapped but things being normal. It’s still difficult to say with certainty what could have gone wrong.”
Landing on the moon is particularly difficult because it has almost no atmosphere. That means parachutes can’t be used, so landers depend on thrusters to set them down at the proper speed and in the right place. Transmissions to and from Earth take more than a second, so the lander cannot be controlled in real time. The Indian lander was programmed to scan for a suitable spot to land and reach it automatically.
A similar Israeli mission failed earlier this year at around the same stage. As it descended to the lunar surface, it lost communications and hit the moon at too high a speed.
“These are challenging matters and it could happen even to more experienced countries,” said Ram S. Jakhu, former director of the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University in Montreal. “Knowing something in theory and doing it in practice is different.”
Alfalfa Removed As Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy
Saudi Arabian energy minister is now a "royal": Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.
Seems to have a familiar sounding name.