Space News from SpaceDaily.com
US Moon lander 'permanently' asleep after historic landing: company
ADVERTISEMENT

Washington, March 24 (AFP) Mar 24, 2024
An uncrewed American lander that became the first private spaceship on the Moon has met its ultimate end after failing to "wake up," the company that built it said.

Houston-based Intuitive Machines said late Saturday that the lander, named Odysseus, had not phoned home this week when its solar panels were projected to receive enough sunlight to turn on its radio.

The lander touched down at a wonky angle on February 22, but was still able to complete several tests and send back photos before its mission was determined to have ended a week later, as it entered a weeks-long lunar night.

Intuitive Machines had hoped that it might "wake up" once it received sunlight again, as Japan's SLIM spaceship -- which landed upside down in January -- did last month.

The company said Saturday on X, formerly Twitter, that after several days of waiting, operators had confirmed that the power system of the lander, nicknamed "Odie," would "not complete another call home."

"This confirms that Odie has permanently faded after cementing its legacy into history as the first commercial lunar lander to land on the Moon," it said.

The mission has been hailed as a success by Intuitive Machines and NASA, even as it ran into multiple problems along the way, including the tip-over at landing.

It was also the first lunar touchdown by an American spaceship since the manned Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

NASA is planning to return astronauts to the Moon later this decade. It paid Intuitive Machines around $120 million for the mission as part of an initiative to delegate cargo missions to the private sector and stimulate a lunar economy.

Odysseus carried a suite of NASA instruments designed to improve scientific understanding of the lunar south pole, where the space agency plans to send astronauts under its Artemis program later this decade.

Intuitive Machines has two more Moon missions planned this year, both part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, which works with the private sector.

The United States, along with international partners, wants to eventually develop long-term habitats in the region, harvesting polar ice for drinking water -- and to produce rocket fuel for eventual onward voyages to Mars.


ADVERTISEMENT




Space News from SpaceDaily.com
China to send fresh crew to Tiangong space station
Japan Moon probe survives 3rd lunar night
Rocket Lab launches NASA's solar sail technology into orbit

24/7 Energy News Coverage
Exploring the 'electron universe': New paths in quantum geometry manipulation
Revisiting multi-dimensional classification with a focus on dimensions
How light can vaporize water without the need for heat

Military Space News, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense
US commander sees 'breathtaking' development of China's space power
Neuraspace launches new tiers for enhanced space traffic management
China advances its earth observation capabilities with new satellite launch

24/7 News Coverage
Hidden biosphere discovered beneath world's driest hot desert
Study traces bioluminescence back 540 million years in octocorals
Danger warning issued for Bangkok as extreme heat bites


All rights reserved. Copyright Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.