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“Odysseus Moon lander ‘tipped over on touchdown’, says Intuitive Machines”

Big news from space! Odysseus, a privately built US spacecraft, just made history by becoming the first privately operated robot to softly land on the Moon. Despite a small hiccup during landing, it’s in good shape, with power and communication intact. The team is working on getting pictures to assess the situation. Steve Altemus, CEO of Intuitive Machines, the company behind Odysseus, says data suggests a stumble during landing, but the craft’s antennas are still pointing towards Earth, and its solar cells are collecting energy.

Luckily, all scientific instruments on Odysseus are positioned to continue their observations of the Moon’s surface. The only setback is an art project aimed at the lunar surface. Odysseus was aiming for a spot near the Moon’s south pole and likely got close. The US satellite Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will confirm its location soon.

This mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, where private companies handle lunar cargo. Intuitive Machines received $118 million for their role. Despite the landing issue, the mission presses on. NASA hopes such partnerships will make lunar exploration more affordable and spur a lunar economy. Joel Kearns from NASA hailed Odysseus’s landing as a win for the program.

Odysseus won’t last forever. By March, lunar night will fall, rendering its electronics inoperable due to extreme cold. Until then, there’s still time for more discoveries before Odysseus’s mission concludes.

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