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Odysseus farewell: US Moon lander captures Earth's 'crescent' in parting shot

1 month ago 91



NEW DELHI: The first US spacecraft to land on the Moon since 1972,

Odysseus

, entered a dormant state as the lunar night began. While the mission marked the first

private company

's

moon landing

,

Intuitive Machines

SEO shared with reporters the intention to "wake it up" in around three weeks when sunlight returns.
Intuitive Machines' Odysseus outlasted expectations despite landing on its side, facing issues with solar power and communication.

The end came as flight controllers received Odysseus' last photo and instructed its computer and power system to standby. This paves the way for the lander to potentially wake up in another two to three weeks, provided it weathers the harsh lunar night. Intuitive Machines spokesman Josh Marshall said these final steps drained the lander’s batteries and put Odysseus “down for a long nap.”
However, prior to Odysseus' moon lander entering the two-week lunar night, it sent a final transmission featuring the

cratered lunar surface

and a distant shadowed Earth crescent.

"Before its power was depleted, Odysseus completed a fitting farewell transmission," Intuitive Machines tweeted on X (formerly Twitter). They added, "Received today, this image from February 22nd showcases the crescent Earth in the backdrop, a subtle reminder of humanity's presence in the universe. Goodnight, Odie. We hope to hear from you again."
Before losing power, Odysseus transmitted what Intuitive Machines described as a "fitting farewell message." Captured right before landing, the image displays the lander's underside on the moon's pockmarked surface, with a small crescent Earth and Sun in the background.

Odysseus, funded $118 million by

Nasa

to carry six experiments, marks the first company in Nasa's commercial lunar delivery program. Unfortunately, it failed to reach the moon, as its lander crashed back to Earth in January.

Seen as precursors by Nasa, these private landers aim to pave the way for upcoming astronaut missions in the next few years. The last US moon landing before Odysseus was by

Apollo 17

's Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt in 1972.
(With agency inputs)

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