space.  A leaked American private lander heading towards Earth

space. A leaked American private lander heading towards Earth

The startup Astrobotic announced on Saturday, January 13, 2024, that a US company's lunar lander that experienced a fuel leak is now heading toward Earth and will likely burn up in the atmosphere.

The company has been publishing regular updates on the status of the Peregrine lander since its launch on January 8 aboard a new Vulcan Centaur rocket from the ULA group, which brings together Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Shortly after separating from the rocket, the spacecraft experienced an on-board explosion and it quickly became clear that it would not be able to land softly on the Moon as originally planned, due to a fuel leak.

But the Astrobotic team was able to launch scientific experiments on behalf of NASA and other space agencies, and collect flight data.

“Our latest estimates show the spacecraft is heading toward Earth, where it will likely burn up in the atmosphere.”The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based company said on X. “The team is currently evaluating possible options and we will update you as soon as possible.”

Astrobotic added that the robot has been in space for more than five days and is currently 390,000 kilometers from our planet.

Multiple attempts

In addition to scientific equipment, the spacecraft carries cargo for Astrobotic's private customers, including a can of a sports drink, physical bitcoin, ashes and DNA from humans and animals.

Scientific equipment worth $108 million was also transferred to NASA.

So far, only four countries – the United States, the Soviet Union, China and India – have succeeded in landing a rover on the moon. Among them, only the United States has actually sent humans there.

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In recent years, private Israeli and Japanese companies have also attempted to land on the moon, but these missions ended in accidents.

Despite this failure, NASA officials indicated that they want to continue increasing their attempts to increase their chances of success. The next event will be the Intuitive Machines event in February.

Astrobotic itself will get another shot in November with the Griffin lander carrying NASA's VIPER rover to the lunar south pole.

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