Moon Lander Sends Final Photo Before It Stops Working

Odysseus' systems could wake up in a few weeks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 29, 2024 6:10 PM CST
Moon Lander Sends Final Photo Before It Stops Working
This image provided by Intuitive Machines shows a view from the Odysseus lunar lander made with a fisheye lens on Feb. 22. Odysseus sent this photo in its farewell transmission, received on Thursday.   (Intuitive Machines via AP)

The first US spacecraft to land on the moon since the Apollo astronauts fell silent Thursday, a week after breaking a leg at touchdown and tipping over near the lunar south pole. Intuitive Machines' lander, Odysseus, lasted longer than the company anticipated after it ended up on its side with hobbled solar power and communication, the AP reports. The end came as flight controllers received one last photo from Odysseus and commanded its computer and power systems to stand by. That way, the lander can wake up in another two to three weeks—if it survives the bitterly cold lunar night.

Intuitive Machines spokesman Josh Marshall said these final steps drained the lander's batteries and put Odysseus "down for a long nap." In a post on X, the company said: "Good night, Odie. We hope to hear from you again." Before losing power, Odysseus sent back what Intuitive Machines called "a fitting farewell transmission." Taken just before touchdown, the picture shows the bottom of the lander on the moon's pockmarked surface, with a tiny crescent Earth and a small sun in the background. The lander was originally intended to last about a week at the moon, per the AP.

(More moon lander stories.)

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