June 15, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Odyssey became the first American spacecraft to land on the Moon in more than 50 years

Lunar apparatus “Odysseus”, Nicknamed “Odie” or IM-1, it became the first American spacecraft to land on the Moon in more than 50 years.

Houston-based Intuitive Machines landed its Odyssey robot near the moon’s south pole at 23:23 GMT. At first there were no signals from the robot. Minutes passed, nerves were on edge, but in the end the connection was established, albeit weak.

This raised some concerns about the condition of the lander. However, after a couple of hours, Intuitive Machines announced that “Odysseus“stands on its feet and transmits data, including photographs.

“We can confirm without a doubt that our equipment is on the surface of the Moon and transmitting data,” – said flight director Tim Crane.

This was an important moment not only for the commercial use of space, but for the American space program as a whole.”

Spacecraft “Odysseus“landed on the dark and icy side of the Moon

The target landing site was a cratered area near a 5 km high mountain complex known as Malapert. This is the southernmost point of the Moon that a spacecraft has ever visited – 80 degrees south latitude.

It is among the places NASA plans to send astronauts to later this decade as part of its Artemis program.

There are several deep craters in this region that never receive sunlight – they are constantly in the shadows – and scientists believe they may contain frozen water.

“Ice is very important because if we can take advantage of that ice on the surface of the moon, we will have to take less materials with us.”” explains Laurie Glaze, NASA director of planetary sciences.

“We can use this ice to turn it into water – drinking water – and produce oxygen and hydrogen for astronauts to fuel and breathe. So this will really help us with human exploration of the Earth.”

Intuitive Machines has ended the United States’ half-century absence from the lunar surface. To find a case where American equipment softly landed on the lunar soil, you need to go back to the last mission “Apollo” in 1972.

The American space agency NASA acquired a place on “Odyssey” for six scientific instruments, and its administrator Bill Nelson was quick to congratulate Intuitive Machines on “triumph” mission, which he called “triumphant”.

“The USA returned to the moon”– he said. “Today, for the first time in human history, a commercial company – an American company – has launched and led the journey there. And today is a day that shows the strength and promise of NASA’s commercial partnerships.”

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