Here Come the Lunar Landers | God's World News
Here Come the Lunar Landers
News Shorts
Posted: January 08, 2024
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    A rocket carrying the Astrobotic Technology lunar lander launches from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on January 8, 2024. (Malcolm Denemark/Florida Today via AP)
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    This drawing shows what the Peregrine lunar lander will look like on the surface of the Moon. (Astrobotic Technology via AP)
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    The Peregrine lunar lander is prepared to be attached to a rocket in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (United Launch Alliance via AP)
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    Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lunar lander in Houston, Texas, in October 2023. The company aims to launch the lander in February 2024. (Intuitive Machines via AP)
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Shoot for the Moon! That’s what two American companies are trying to do.

The last time the United States sent a lander to the Moon was in 1972. That was more than 50 years ago!

NASA plans to send people back to the Moon in a few years. But first, unmanned landers need to scout landing spots. They will also drop off science experiments.

NASA gave two companies millions of dollars to build lunar landers. Astrobotic Technology sent its lander off on January 8. It is scheduled to touch down on February 23. Intuitive Machines will launch its lander in mid-February. It will take a faster, one-week route. That means both spacecraft could reach the Moon around the same time!

Astrobotic’s lander has four legs and is six feet tall. It is named Peregrine. Peregrine is aimed for the middle of the Moon.

Intuitive Machines’ lander is bigger. It has six legs and is 14 feet tall. It will land in the Moon’s south polar region.

Scientists believe the south pole’s craters hold lots of frozen water. That water could be used for drinking and making rocket fuel. That’s why the next NASA moonwalkers will land there. When will that manned mission be? Probably sometime between 2025 and 2027.

Landing on the Moon isn’t easy. Earth’s atmosphere slows spacecraft. But there’s hardly any atmosphere on the Moon. Parachutes don’t work either. That means a lander must use thrust from its engines to slow itself. Landers also have to dodge cliffs and craters.

The Soviet Union and the United States made several successful lunar landings in the 1960s and 1970s. China landed in 2013. India landed in 2023. But landers from Russia and Japan crashed into the Moon last year.

Japan will try again soon. A new craft launched in September. It will attempt to land in two weeks. If successful, Japan will become the fifth country to pull off a lunar landing.

May they fear you while the Sun endures, and as long as the Moon, throughout all generations! — Psalm 72:5

Update: Soon after launch, Peregrine developed a fuel leak. The leak would prevent a successful Moon landing. Astrobotic Technology decided to end the mission. The lander is expected to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere by January 18.