The private Odysseus ship enables the USA to return to the moon half a century later

A American ship landed on the lunar surface this Thursday For the first time in more than 50 yearsespecially since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, and it was also the first device manufactured by a private company to reach the natural satellite.

Odysseus landed on the edge of the Moon’s Malapert-A crater, about 300 km from the South Pole.

After a journey of more than a million kilometers, the module Odysseusby the company Intuitive machineslanded successfully this Thursday around 6:23 p.m. (US Eastern Time, six more hours – already Friday – on the Iberian Peninsula), on the edge of the Crater Malapert Aabout 300 kilometers from the lunar south pole and after some changes in the arrival time.

“Houston, Odysseus has found his new home,” the mission leader confirmed, Timothy Crainafter a few minutes during which communications were lost and air traffic controllers received no signal from the ship.

Houston, Odysseus has found his new home

Timothy Crain (Intuitive Machines)

Illustration of the Odise lander on the lunar surface. / Intuitive machines

“Today, the United States returned to the moon for the first time in more than half a century,” the NASA administrator said Bill Nelsonshortly after the descent of Odysseus was confirmed.

For the first time in more than half a century, the United States has returned to the Moon (since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972).

Bill Nelson (NASA Administrator)

The landing process didn’t go smoothly setbacks. As reported during the broadcast, the Intuitive Machines tool, which was supposed to be used for guidance during the descent, did not work and the company was forced to use a NASA instrument.

The US space agency has paid out 118 million dollars for the transport of scientific and technological instruments contained in six payloads, which are part of the twelve loads that make up the module of the Nova C series the company.

The ship of 4.3 meters tall and weighs 675 kilos Weight, launched with a Falcon 9 rocket from Space

On Wednesday, Odysseus successfully entered lunar orbit and remained at an altitude of about 90 kilometers, where he remained until today’s descent, but not before sharing a picture of it Crater Bel’kovich K“in the Moon’s northern equatorial highlands,” Intuitive Machines noted.

Image of the lunar soil taken by the Odysseus module. / EFE/Courtesy of Intuitive Machines

For him Landing procedurewhich took about an hour, Odysseus had to turn on his main engine, which uses liquid oxygen and methane as propellant, and turn around to stand upright, standing on six legs, for about ten minutes.

In Malapert A, where daytime temperatures exceed 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit), Odysseus will remain for about seven days until night falls in the region and it becomes inoperable.

Odysseus will remain operational for approximately seven days until night falls in its landing zone and it becomes inoperable.

The mission is called IM-1is part of the initiative Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPSfor the English acronym) from NASA, which is also part of the Artemis program, with which the US space agency wants to send crew trips to the moon again.

Part of this program included the Peregrine cargo module, which successfully launched last January, but the ship suffered a fuel leak and was eventually forced to return to Earth’s atmosphere for controlled destruction.

With NASA instruments and commercial cargo

In the case of Odysseus, in addition to NASA instruments, the module also transports orders from private customers, including the sportswear and accessories company. Columbia, which will test insulation materialand plastic artist Jeff Koons, who docked the ship 125 small sculptures the phases of the moon.

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Among the various NASA instruments that Odysseus carries with him, there are a few for one better fuel dosageas well as Cameras to capture audio and still images of the dust cloud the module creates as it begins its descent to the lunar surface.

The area where the module landed today is one of the thirteen candidate regions for the lunar landing of NASA’s manned Artemis III mission.

The area where the module landed today is one of the thirteen candidate regions for the lunar landing. Manned mission Artemis III by NASA, scheduled for September 2026. The space agency believes that there could be deposits of frozen water in this unexplored region.

The Intuitive Machines mission aims to solidify a path for the transportation of U.S. space agency scientific instruments and commercial cargo like this one, paving the way for a sustained human presence on our satellite.

Collaboration with Chinese scientists

Scientists from China and the USA After Odysseus landed on the moon, they were also able to conduct joint astronomical observations from the lunar surface.

The National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) According to the Hong Kong newspaper this Friday, he has received an invitation to deploy two cameras on the lander. South China morning post.

China’s National Astronomical Observatories have received an invitation to deploy two Odysseus cameras, according to a Hong Kong newspaper

The cameras will help researchers study various celestial bodies, including the center of the Milky Way.

The collaboration is the result of an agreement signed between NAOC and the International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA)a non-profit organization based in the state of Hawaii.

The agreement allowed Hawaiian astronomers two years ago to use an ultraviolet telescope on the Chinese lunar lander Chang’e 3 to image distant galaxies from the satellite’s surface for the first time.

“ILOA was honored to have participated in the first Sino-American collaboration on the Moon with a Chinese instrument. We are now pleased to announce this Reciprocity plan in the long-term agreement,” said ILOA founding director Steve Durstquotes the newspaper.

The moon belongs to humanity

“Every success in lunar exploration is worth celebrating, because the moon does not belong to any country, but to all humanity,” said the astronomer from the Chinese Observatory Zheng Yongchun to the newspaper.

The calling Wolf changeThe agreement, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2011, prohibits NASA and other U.S. government agencies from collaborating with China on space projects except in exceptional circumstances.

A US Congressional amendment bans NASA and other government agencies from collaborating with China on space projects except in exceptional circumstances.

The argument put forward by the US Congress refers to the alleged military ties of the Chinese space program, which have significantly limited cooperation between the two powers on the matter.

The law has been criticized by some experts who believe it hinders space cooperation between the two powers, as this shows Each country participates in an orbital station project different and harms science.

Last December, the China National Space Administration invited scientists from around the world, including the United States, to request lunar samples that the agency collected at its premises Chang’e 5 and Chang’e 6 lunar missionsalthough he criticized the North American country’s “inconsistencies.”

China has invested heavily in its space program and managed to land the Chang’e 4 spacecraft on the far side of the moon – a feat achieved for the first time – and reach Mars for the first time, making it the third country after the United States States and the collapsed Soviet Union, in “Amartizar.”

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