An American probe landed on the surface of the moon, the first of its kind on a special mission

An American probe landed on the surface of the moon, the first of its kind on a special mission

Intuitive Machines, which wants to be the first private company to successfully land on the moon, said that a probe from the American company Intuitive Machines landed on the moon on Thursday, February 22, 2024. However, the signal received was weak and the lander's position was not Crystal clear instantly.

Read also: Why is going to the moon more difficult today than it was fifty years ago?

“We can confirm without a doubt that our equipment is on the moon, and we are broadcasting.” Signal,” said Tim Crane, director of Intuitive Machines, during the company’s live video I watchedFrench Information AgencyThis was followed by applause from the team responsible for monitoring the process.

Antarctica in the camera lens

The Nova-C lander took off last week from Florida and entered lunar orbit on Wednesday, February 21. The final landing was made vertically from a height of 30 metres. The landing was then completely independent. The target site by Intuitive Machines is about 300 kilometers from the Moon's south pole.

The lander's lasers, which normally allow the device to orient itself, did not work. So the Intuitive Machines teams decided to use NASA's onboard instrument as a replacement, which was only scheduled to be tested during the mission.

A small vehicle equipped with cameras was supposed to emerge from the moon to capture the big moment from the outside, and its images will be broadcast later.

big success

This success not only represents a major milestone for the private space sector, but also represents the first landing of an American probe on the moon since the end of the legendary Apollo program in 1972.

READ  How many stars are there in space?

Read also: Japan is the fifth Comorian country

India and Japan were recently able to land there thanks to their national space agencies, becoming the fourth and fifth countries to do so, after the Soviet Union, the United States, and China. But several Israeli, Japanese and American companies have so far failed to reproduce the same feat. Russia also missed the opportunity to land on the moon this summer.

Preparing for the return of the astronauts

The lunar South Pole is of interest because there is water there in the form of ice that can be exploited. NASA wants to send its astronauts there starting in 2026 on Artemis missions. In order to prepare for these tasks in particular, it seeks to study this area closely.

To do this, it is using its new program: instead of developing ships for the moon itself, the US space agency has commissioned private companies to transport its scientific equipment there. The program's first mission, led by the American company Astrobotic, failed to reach the moon last month.

Seven days of activity

The lunar spacecraft, which was used on this mission, is named Intuitive Machines Odysseus, and also takes six special shipments. Among them: sculptures by contemporary artist Jeff Koons representing the phases of the moon.

Read also: Four video documentaries to bring Thomas Pesquet's space adventure to life

NASA's six science instruments focus on preliminary observations of this yet-to-be-explored region. OdysseusPowered by its solar panels, the vehicle must operate for approximately seven days from the moment of landing, before nightfall on the Moon's south pole.

READ  Corona: Virologist Streeck takes politics into duty - "This is what they were chosen for"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *