Odyssey over – for now – as private Moon lander powers down

Cosmos Magazine


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By Cosmos

The modern odyssey is over and there will be no decade-long homecoming for the new Odysseus – the historic Intuitive Machines lunar mission will draw to a close today.

The Nova-C lander nicknamed ‘Odysseus’ by the Texas company, became the first privately operated craft to land on the Moon’s surface at the end of February, and the first US vehicle to do so in half a century.

But its success was curtailed by a fast landing that resulted in one of its six legs catching on the surface and causing it to fall on its side. It means several antennas have had patchy communications with Intuitive Machines’ data network on Earth, and the solar panels vital for generating power were also restricted – though not entirely – from receiving sunlight.

But as the two-week lunar night sets in, Odysseus will power down, with no guarantee of waking up. At a press briefing last week, Intuitive Machines’ chief executive Steve Altemus expressed hope the lander would spark to life once sunlight returned to the Malapert-A crater

The company has also released the vehicle’s final photograph before light disappeared.

A crescent Earth spotted above the bright Sun in the final photo sent by ‘Odysseus’. Credit: Intuitive Machines.

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