Monday, May 27

US Spaceship ‘Odysseus’ Tipped After Touching Down The Moon Surface

Edited by Uzma Parveen

As the US-made spacecraft, Odysseus touched down on the moon on Thursday at 6.23 pm ET, in the South-polar region near the crater Malapret A, it caught a foot on the surface and tipped, causing it to tilt over informed Steve Altemus CEO, Intuitive Machines.

The Intuitive Machines 1 (IM-1, TO2-IM) mission objective is to place a NOVA-C lander, called Odysseus, at crater Malapert A near the south pole of the Moon. Odysseus, operated and designed, by NASA and Intuitive Machines, the Texas-based company, landed on the Moon for the first after more than 50 years. Altemus informed that Odysseus landed ‘near or at the intended landing site’ but caught a foot which caused it to tilt over.

According to the information provided by Intuitive Machine, the signal sent back from the spacecraft confirmed its successful landing.

The landing site is expected to contain frozen water that might sustain a future permanent lunar outpost. The site’s numerous craters make it extremely difficult to navigate.

NASA provided $118 million in funding to Intuitive Machines for the mission, under its Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. The CLPS program awards contracts to private partners. The Mission is also a part of the Artemis program aimed at sending humans back to the moon.

The hexagonal-shaped lander is 14ft (14.3 metres) tall and has six legs which used NASA’s experimental laser navigation system to guide its descent, as the laser instrument from Intuitive Machines failed to work. The lander is designed to operate for 7 days on solar energy before the sun sets over the polar landing site.

Another component, called EagleCam, was a cube containing cameras manufactured by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. It was supposed to detach 30 seconds before the landing to capture images of Odysseus touching down, but due to a malfunction with the navigation system, it was switched off during the descent. However, EagleCam will be released in a few days to take a photo of the lander from about 26 ft away, informed Troy Henderson from Embry-Riddle.

Odysseus’s position on the moon is still unclear making the final picture of the lander on the surface difficult.

The NASA payload onboard will focus on collecting data on space weather interactions with the moon’s surface, radio astronomy, and other aspects of the lunar environment. This information is crucial for future landers and NASA planned return of astronauts to the moon in the coming year.