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India loses contact with Chandrayaan-2 moon mission

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India loses contact with Chandrayaan-2 moon mission
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The Indian space agency lost communication with its Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission on Friday, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation said, in a setback to the nation's ambitious plan to land an unmanned probe near the south pole of the moon.

"Data is being analysed," Chairman K Sivan told a room full of distraught scientists at the agency's tracking centre in Bengaluru.

This area of the Earth's satellite is particularly interesting because of the possibility that ice could be there.

Ahead of the attempted landing, Dr Francisco Diego, a senior teaching fellow of astrophysics at University College London, said the spacecraft's attempt at a soft landing on the lunar surface was expected to be "very challenging".

The Chandrayaan-2, which translates as "moon vehicle" in Sanskrit, took off on July 22 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota.

Its initial launch was scheduled for a week earlier, but it was called off due to a "technical snag".

Its orbiter and landing module successfully separated on Monday — six weeks into the mission — according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).