Odysseus does not answer.  The end of the historical mission
| Astronomy/Physics

A historic mission that witnessed a private company's vehicle successfully landing on the moon's surface for the first time He came to an end. Intuitive Machines, the owner of Odysseus, said it was unable to contact the craft after a moonlit night. The task was thus officially considered completed.

Odysseus flew to the moon as part of the IM-1 mission. A month ago, on February 23, it became the first private spacecraft to softly land on the surface of the Silver Globe. Ultimately, it was scheduled to operate on the Moon for 10 days, drawing power from solar panels. They are not designed to survive the night, as power will not reach the panels and the temperature will drop significantly.

Already during the flight, it turned out that a mistake had been made when connecting the laser rangefinder. So the landing was delayed and engineers redirected the rangefinder data. However, this time they made a mistake because they forgot to mark data coming from an unusual place as valid. Therefore, Odysseus landed 1.5 kilometers from the designated point in higher and steeper terrain. Furthermore, as it approached the surface of the silver ball, instead of hovering, it moved slowly. When she landed, one of her legs broke and the car came to rest, tilted about 30 degrees from the vertical position. Ironically, problems with the rangefinder showed that even without this basic navigation device, it is possible to land using only the image captured by cameras and inertial motion sensors.

However, since the landing did not go according to plan and the Odysseus' solar panels were not perfectly illuminated by the sun, it was decided to put the vehicle to sleep 6 days after landing. This was to save energy and try to wake the car up after the night.

Mission operators began listening for Odysseus' signals on March 20. They hoped that the sun illuminating the panels would charge the car's batteries and start them working. But after three days, they came to the conclusion that the miracle had not happened. The predictions about the fate of Odysseus after a moonlit night turned out to be true. The car became silent forever. So the mission was officially declared over.

Intuitive Machines is already preparing two additional missions. IM-2 is scheduled for later this year and will land in Antarctica. Its goal is to demonstrate the technology for using Silver Globe resources. In contrast, IM-3 will land in the region of one of the lunar “vortexes” more visible from Earth, Reiner gamma. There is a magnetic anomaly that the mission is supposed to investigate. At the same time, it will also showcase robot swarm techniques.

Odysseus does not answer. The end of the historical mission

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