Sideways American Lander Sends First Images Back From Moon


Sideways American lander sends first images back from Moon

Washington, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 27th Feb, 2024) An American lunar lander that tipped over during touchdown has sent back its first images from the farthest south any vessel has ever landed on the Moon.

The uncrewed Odysseus, built by Houston-based Intuitive Machines, returned the United States to Earth's cosmic neighbor last week after a five-decade absence, in a first for the private sector.

But one of its legs caught on the surface as it came down, making it pitch over in the final act of a drama-packed journey that was saved by an improvised fix.

"Odysseus continues to communicate with flight controllers in Nova Control from the lunar surface," Intuitive Machines said Monday in an update on X.

The post included two pictures: one from the hexagon-shaped spaceship's descent, and the other taken 35 seconds after it fell over, revealing the pockmarked soil of the Malapert A impact crater.

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

Odysseus carries 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.

Unlike during Apollo, the plan is to build long-term habitats, harvesting polar ice for drinking water and for rocket fuel for onward missions to Mars.