The United States’ space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration on Saturday offered words of encouragement to the Indian space agency after the Chandrayaan-2 moon mission lost contact with the object that was to land on the lunar surface.

“Space is hard,” NASA tweeted. “We commend @ISRO’s attempt to land their #Chandrayaan2 mission on the Moon’s South Pole. You have inspired us with your journey and look forward to future opportunities to explore our solar system together.”

The US Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs said India’s mission had been a huge step forward. “We congratulate @ISRO on their incredible efforts on #Chandrayaan2,” the bureau tweeted. “The mission is a huge step forward for India and will continue to produce valuable data to fuel scientific advancements. We have no doubt that India will achieve its space aspirations.”

Early on Saturday, ISRO lost contact with the Vikram lander. The lander carried by India’s second moon mission had launched itself towards the moon and fought against its gravity and decelerated for more than 28 km before it lost contact with the ground station.

ISRO Director K Sivan said that the space agency “will try to establish a link for the next 14 days” with Chandrayaan-2. The director said that the last phase of the mission was not completed properly, due to which the link with the lander was lost.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told ISRO scientists not to get disheartened by the failure. Modi reassured the scientists and said India’s determination to touch the moon has become even stronger. “You are among those who live and work hard to take India to new heights,” he said at the space agency’s headquarters in Bengaluru. “You are the ones who sacrifice your own dreams and spend sleepless nights to keep India’s head high.”

Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.