In grand scheme of things, 90 seconds is very small time. On most days we spend more time than that at traffic light during daily commute. However when you’re dealing things at granular level, 90 seconds can make all the difference. This weekends’s moon mission of India’s Space Research Organisation (ISRO) again highlighted this. The Moon Mission succeeded in landing rover on the South Pole of Moon. But during landing, it lost communication. The problem was caused in last 2.1 kilo-meters of the journey. The satellite had travelled nearly 300,000 kilo-meters from surface of earth. In grand scheme of things, last 2.1 KM was a small distance, however it made all the difference.

Like billions of fellow Indian’s, I was sad with events of Saturday morning when the landing on surface of moon didn’t go as per plan. The last hurdle caused a major heartbreak and brought all sorts of emotions. I remember going through something similar on final day of English Premier League’s 2011-2012 season. Manchester United had just won away at Sunderland. Title contender Manchester City were still playing against QPR and there was 90 seconds of time left. During those 90 seconds, City won the game and the league.

It’s often said, failure is first step towards success. In fact, Thomas Edison had famously said, “I have not failed, I found 10,000 ways that don’t work”. At times, failure is a great experience and teacher (for those who want to learn from it and improve). On the other hand, success is a lousy teacher. It can cause complacency and let you drop standards. But failure acts as a great motivator.

When Manchester United lost league title on goal difference in 2011-2012 season, players were heartbroken. During drive back to Manchester, the legendary Manager Sir Alex Ferguson, used the failure as motivation for next season. He told his players to remember the feeling of losing when they come back for new campaign. Off course, Sir Alex worked to address (at least as a stop gap measure) issues with the squad. He signed Robin Van Persie from arch rivals Arsenal to address goal scoring problem. Forward was a great hit and United won league following season in 2012 – 2013. Heartbreak suffered 12 months ago, was forgotten.

I am sure ISRO scientists and engineers will figure out what went gone wrong with moon landing. This failure broke hearts, but it has also resulted in great support and respect for all those involved. And it’s going to ensure long term success of India’s space program for years to come!

PS – as of this moment, ISRO has spotted rover on moon and working on establishing communication with it…


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