Moon Mission Accomplished | God's World News
Moon Mission Accomplished
News Shorts
Posted: February 23, 2024
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    Intuitive Machines employee Dan Harrison watches the Moon landing with fellow workers on February 22, 2024, in Houston, Texas. (Raquel Natalicchio/Houston Chronicle via AP)
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    The Odysseus lunar lander flies over the Moon on February 21, 2024. (Intuitive Machines via AP)
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    This image shows the Odysseus lunar lander with the Earth in the background on February 16, 2024. (Intuitive Machines via AP)
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    Odysseus before takeoff (Intuitive Machines via AP)
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Not a football touchdown. A landing. A landing on the Moon.

A U.S. spacecraft had not landed on the Moon in over 50 years. On February 22, a lander called Odysseus changed that. It touched the Moon’s surface.

Workers at a Texas company called Intuitive Machines built the craft. They say Odysseus landed upright. But did it reach a spot near the Moon’s south pole? That’s a question they haven’t answered yet.

“What we can confirm, without a doubt, is our equipment is on the surface of the Moon,” says Tim Crain. He directed the mission.

Intuitive Machines is the first private business to pull off a lunar landing. Another U.S. company, Astrobotic Technology, gave it a try last month. That lander, Peregrine, never made it to the Moon. It had a leak. It burned up in Earth’s atmosphere.

But it seems that Astrobotic isn’t a sore loser. Company representatives congratulated Odysseus’s makers. “An incredible achievement,” they wrote on social media. “We can’t wait to join you on the lunar surface in the near future.”

Odysseus has six legs. It’s made of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and titanium. It measures 14 feet tall and carries six scientific experiments onboard. In the final few hours before touchdown, the craft’s controllers started to worry. Odysseus’s laser navigation system failed. The control team had to use an experimental NASA laser system instead. The lander took an extra lap around the Moon. That made time for the last-minute switch.

Finally, Odysseus descended from orbit. It guided itself toward the Moon’s surface. It aimed for a flat spot among the cliffs and craters near the south pole.

Meanwhile, controllers on Earth waited for news. After around 15 minutes, they got a weak signal from the lander.

Welcome to the Moon!

He made the Moon to mark the seasons; the Sun knows its time for setting. —  Psalm 104:19

UPDATE: Officials confirmed Odysseus tipped over at touchdown and ended up on its side near the south pole.