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Broken but Beaming

Despite a bumpy landing and power loss, the Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus moon lander managed to send back a final transmission before the lunar night fell. The image captured the desolate lunar surface stretching to the horizon, with a tiny crescent of Earth visible in the distance.

A Touching Farewell

“Before its power was depleted, Odysseus completed a fitting farewell transmission,” the company tweeted. “Received today, this image showcases the crescent Earth in the backdrop, a subtle reminder of humanity’s presence in the universe.”

Hope for Revival

Odysseus may awaken in mid-March when sunlight reaches its solar panels. However, the extreme cold (-250°F) could damage its components.

NASA’s Support

Despite the challenges, NASA praised the landing as a success. The lander transmitted scientific data from NASA’s equipment, including research on space weather and the interaction between the spacecraft and the lunar surface.

Commercial Lunar Program

Odysseus’ mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, which allows private companies to deliver NASA missions to the moon. This frees up NASA to focus on its Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon.

Historical Significance

Odysseus’ landing marked the first US lunar landing since Apollo 17 and the first under the CLPS initiative. The lander touched down near the lunar south pole, a region of interest for future exploration and potential moon bases.