the personal American probe Odysseus prepared for the large leap | EUROtoday

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SIf the Odysseus manages to land on the Moon this night, between 11:30 p.m. and midnight (French time), it’s going to snatch two titles without delay. Firstly, that of the primary personal spacecraft to land on the Selene star and, secondly, that of the primary American probe to attain this feat for the reason that finish of the Apollo program, somewhat over 50 years in the past. Which is saying one thing once we know that one in two arrivals on the lunar floor nonetheless ends in a crash at present! Designed and operated by the American firm Intuitive Machines – created in 2013 in Houston, Texas, by a former member of the American house company – the IM-1 mission of this primary copy of the Nova-C probe mannequin is a part of as a part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Service (CLPS) undertaking. This consists of entrusting new house actors with the duty of carrying gear and finishing up reconnaissance on behalf of its Artemis program, which is meant to deliver the Americans and their allies again to the Moon in the long run.

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Why does she do it? On the one hand, as a result of it estimates that it will likely be cheaper (118 million {dollars} for this IM-1 mission) and then again, to arrange for the appearance of the brand new lunar economic system that it requires needs. In the meantime, this Thursday, February 22 night, the Intuitive Machines and NASA groups will maintain their breath collectively. Especially for the reason that very first mission of the CPLS program, that of one other lander referred to as Peregrine developed by Astrobiotic, ended within the Earth's ambiance the place the gadget, sufferer of a propulsion downside, disintegrated just a few simply days after a profitable launch on January 8. As for the SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) probe which allowed Japan to change into the fifth nation to land a machine on the Moon on January 19, 2024, it sadly landed on its head…

To comply with the moon touchdown dwell from 10 p.m.:

The moon touchdown, a high-risk mission

With its slender silhouette measuring 4 m excessive and 1.6 m large, its fastened toes and its aspect photo voltaic panels, Odysseus has already taken a number of essential steps. First, it efficiently left Earth on Thursday February 15, though a day later than deliberate, following difficulties in filling its cryogenic gasoline tank, composed of a combination of methane and oxygen. . Second, it began its engine (3D printed) which allowed it to decelerate sufficiently to put itself in lunar orbit roughly 100 km from the floor of the Earth's pure satellite tv for pc. There stays the ultimate dive which, within the absence of any ambiance, have to be completed right here with out the slightest parachute (which we will afford on Mars). Only the counter-thrust utilized to the engine will have the ability to sluggish the autumn of the lander by 675 km upon takeoff.

However, though the Moon seems very near us, it’s however too far-off to permit exact distant management. Odysseus will subsequently solely have the ability to depend on its on-board pc geared up with an adaptive algorithm based mostly on the evaluation of photographs from its navigation cameras and readings from its radar and laser altimeter, to deliver its cargo to the secure port , within the Malapert crater (69 km in diameter), situated roughly 300 km from the lunar south pole. A touchdown web site which was not chosen by likelihood, however as a result of there’s water ice there which house businesses hope to have the ability to exploit to facilitate a sustainable return of males to the Moon.

Six scientific devices designed by NASA

On board, the Odysseus carries a payload of 130 km together with, firstly, six scientific devices entrusted by NASA. This is a set of 4 stereo cameras (SCALPSS) positioned on the base of Odysseus to seize photographs of the touchdown and examine how the exhaust gases emitted by the craft work together with the floor lunar, a radio spectrometer referred to as ROLSES meant for the examine of the lunar magnetic atmosphere, an instrument – ​​Radio Frequency Mass Gauge (RFMG) – able to measuring the gasoline ranges present in tanks in house due to radio waves, an modern steering system – the Navigation Doppler Lidar (NDL) – meant to revolutionize the touchdown of spacecraft, a radio navigation beacon (LN-1) to help future lunar operations and a multidirectional passive optical reflector (LRA) for bouncing laser alerts despatched from Earth.

But the probe from the agency Intuitive Machines additionally carries, as a personal mission, six business “packages”: a thermal insulating coating developed by the clothes model Columbia, examined as safety for the cryogenic tank, miniature sculptures by the artist Jeff Koons representing the phases of the Moon, a prototype of a Hawaiian lunar astronomical observatory, a prototype of a lunar information heart, a miniature digital camera referred to as EagleCam designed by college students from the very famend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and answerable for immortalizing the lunar touchdown 'Odysseus and an engraved metallic disc constituting a kind of time capsule of human data.

Will this treasured cargo attain its vacation spot? Answer final evening. If the moon touchdown is profitable, the IM-1 mission ought to final seven days earlier than evening falls on the south pole of the Selene star, depriving Odysseus' photo voltaic panels of their energy supply. Time to function the ROLSES instrument to review the lunar magnetic atmosphere, place the LRA reflector and transmit all the info collected. As for Intuitive Machines, it’s already planning two different missions of the identical sort throughout 2024.