May 19, 2024

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The Odysseus mission may be the first successful private landing on the moon. In addition to the scientific payloads, there are also 125 works of art on board.

Kennedy Space Center – In recent years, several private companies have unsuccessfully attempted to land on the moon. A notable example is the American company Astrobotic, whose land vehicle Peregrine burned up in the Earth's atmosphere. Now another American company is planning to attempt a soft landing on the moon.

Intuitve Machines, the company behind the next attempt, has been awarded a contract from NASA to bring six different cargoes to the Moon. This arrangement is Part of the CLPS program It brought $118 million to the company. This amount was invested in developing the lunar lander, which was called “Odysseus.” In addition, six commercial payloads were loaded onto the Nova-C lunar lander.

The next moon landing is imminent: Intuitive Machines is bringing NASA instruments to the moon

The mission to the moon is scheduled to begin on February 14 at 6:57 a.m. (CET), which is Valentine's Day. The launch site is Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX aims to carry Odysseus into space. If it is not possible to start on that day, there are several alternative start dates.

Intuitive Machines' Odysseus lunar lander will be stored in SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. If the launch is successful, the moon landing is scheduled to take place on February 22. © SpaceX

If the launch is successful, the 675-kilogram lunar lander is expected to land on the moon's surface on February 22. The exact time of landing is not yet known. The planned landing site is Malapert A crater, located about 300 kilometers from the Moon's south pole. This site is particularly interesting for research because large amounts of water ice are suspected to exist there.

The Odysseus lunar lander contains six pieces of NASA equipment

There are six NASA experiments on board the Intuitive Machines lander. These are intended to provide data for future landings on the moon by the US space agency. Among other things, the “LRA”, an instrument for measuring distances on the lunar surface, was included. LRAs consist of mirrors that can be used to guide spacecraft on the Moon. NDL is another instrument designed to improve navigation accuracy and controlled soft landings of spacecraft.

SCALPSS will monitor how the lander's drive shaft behaves. How does it interact with the moon's surface as “Ulysses” descends to the surface? How does the dust plume settle back to Earth after the spacecraft lands? This information is necessary for future moon landings.

Landing with Rover Yutu in December 2013
Landing with Rover Yutu 2 in January 2019
Crash on the moon in April 2019
The orbiter reached lunar orbit in August 2019, and the lander crashed
Landing on the moon in December 2020, returning 1.7 kg of lunar rocks
Unmanned orbit of the Moon in November 2022, the first test of the American Orion spacecraft, which aims to transport astronauts to the Moon
April 2023 Rover Rashid plane crash from the United Arab Emirates
Landing on the moon in August 2023
Crash in August 2023
Landing in January 2024
It crashed to Earth in January 2024

A commercial camera and 125 artworks will also fly to the moon

In addition to NASA experiments, there is also commercial cargo on board that does not come from NASA. For example, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is sending an EagleCam to the moon. This camera will be placed approximately 30 meters above the lunar surface and will be the first camera to document an unmanned landing on the lunar surface from outside the lander.

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American artist Jeff Koons also sends 125 small works of art to the moon. Each of the 125 steel sculptures will be visible on the moon. In addition, one sculpture will remain on the floor and an NFT (non-fungible token, which is a crypto-asset) will be generated. The sculptures are intended to represent various people who have achieved significant achievements in human history.

Intuitive machines could create the first private lunar landing

So far, only five countries have managed to achieve a soft landing on the moon: the Soviet Union, the United States, China (2013), India (2023), and Japan (2024). However, all three private lunar landing missions (see list in this article) failed. If successful, Intuitive Machines will be the first private company to achieve a soft landing on the moon. In addition, the company can install various works of art on the moon. Until now, space probes have left behind nothing but trash and junk on the moon, as well as plaques and flags. (unpaid bill)

The editor wrote this article and then used an AI language model to improve at her own discretion. All information has been carefully checked. Find out more about our AI principles here.