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A view of the moon on May 13, 2019. Photo: Laurent Emmanuel/AFP/Getty Images

India's attempt to land on the Moon last week first appeared to be unsuccessful but reports now suggest its Vikram lander is actually intact on the lunar surface.

What's happening: Mission Control lost touch with the Vikram lander when it was just above the Moon's surface, indicating that something went wrong during its descent. On Tuesday, India's space agency confirmed in a statement that the lander was found by the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter circling the Moon, but they haven't been able to communicate with it.

Details: "All possible efforts are being made to establish communication with lander," the statement reads.

  • According to an unconfirmed report from India Today, the lander is also reportedly in one piece but made a “hard” landing and is “tilted."
  • “Any non-optimal [landing] could destroy vital electronics making communication unlikely. But we live in hope,” geologist Clive Neal of the University of Notre Dame told Axios.

Context: The lander, which carried a rover with it, was expected to function on the Moon's surface for 2 weeks, descended toward the Moon's surface, plunging the spacecraft into lunar night, when temperatures can dip as low as about -300°F.

  • Scientists think the Moon’s south polar region could be rich in water-ice, and Vikram was designed to investigate that idea.
  • Researchers think that it might be possible in the future to mine water from the Moon in order to enable exploration, so characterization missions to learn more about what kind of resources are actually there are key.

The big picture: India has been working toward establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with in space.

Go deeper: Axios Deep Dive — The Moon

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook's scandals have been great for shareholders

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios

Facebook has been embroiled in scandal for the past five years, and while the specific allegations change over time, a central theme is constant. Given the choice between commercial and moral imperatives, Facebook always seems to choose the option that is best for the share price.

Why it matters: Facebook's stock chart supports that narrative. Since the 2016 scandals alleging that the social network was infiltrated by foreign actors trying to influence the outcome of democratic elections, Facebook's revenues — and its stock — have been soaring.

Biden to tap telecom trio for NTIA, FCC posts

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday is expected to name Alan Davidson as head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, Jessica Rosenworcel as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as a commissioner at the FCC, according to a person familiar with the process.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.

3 hours ago - Technology

Facebook seeks fountain of youth

Data: Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens Study; Chart: Axios Visuals

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday said that the company is pivoting its strategy to focus on young adults, following reports that teens have fled its apps.

Why it matters: A series of stories based on leaked whistleblower documents suggest the company sees the aging of its user base as an existential threat to its business.

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