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After landing on the moon, the United States' lunar module mission will stop  innovation

After landing on the moon, the United States' lunar module mission will stop innovation

The Intuitive Machines lunar module approaches the Moon — Image: Intuitive Machines/NASA

The Intuitive Machines space mission, which sent a module to the moon, will stop five days after landing on Earth's natural satellite. The company stated that it was supposed to lose contact with the probe on Tuesday (27), as the equipment fell on the lunar soil.

Although controllers were able to land the module, the probe fell onto a rock, causing data transmission problems, as two of the probe's antennas were pointed downward.

NASA's expectations were that the module would operate for seven to 10 days. The probe was supposed to collect data on the lunar environment in preparation for sending a manned mission to the moon, which is scheduled to take place by 2026.

It is not yet clear whether scientific data will be lost with the early termination of the mission.

“Flight controllers intend to collect data so that the module’s solar panels are not exposed to light. Based on the position of the Earth and Moon, we believe that flight controllers will continue to communicate with Odysseus until Tuesday morning,” the company said.

Intuitive Machines said human error led to the spacecraft's laser-guided rangefinder flight failure. The rangefinders are responsible for providing altitude and speed information to the mission's navigation system.

The company said on Friday (23) that the laser rangefinders were malfunctioning because engineers did not open the safety switch before the launch on February 15. This defect was not discovered until shortly before the moon landing.

The landing on lunar soil was the first carried out by the United States since the Apollo 17 flight in 1972. The NASA mission, which was carried out 51 years ago, carried astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmidt. Since then, no human has returned to the natural moon.

The module entered the lunar orbit on Wednesday (21) and orbited about 92 km from the satellite's surface. The company stated that it successfully received images and data from the flight.

The mission, called IM-1, has a lander module more than four meters high and carries six instrument payloads to collect data on the lunar environment.

The module, led by Intuitive Machines and supported by NASA, aims to prepare to send astronauts to the Moon by 2026, through the Artemis 2 mission.

Before humans returned to the Moon, NASA chose to hire private companies to transport equipment to the natural satellite. In the case of Intuitive Machines, this was the company's first attempt at a lunar mission.

Recently, India and Japan also managed to successfully land on the moon.

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