Enlarge image

35 seconds after touchdown, “Odysseus” snapped this photo

Photo: AFP

A few days after the first successful commercial moon landing, the lander “Odysseus” sent photos of the surface for the first time.

The company Intuitive Machines released several recordings.

One was made into a satellite during the lunar lander's descent, the second after the partially unsuccessful landing in which Odysseus overturned.

The image, taken 35 seconds after tipping over to the side, confirms, among other things, that "Odysseus" landed in a crater called "Malapart A" within a radius of 1.5 kilometers from the originally targeted landing site.

That's 300 kilometers from the South Pole - and therefore further south on the moon than any other spacecraft has ever been.

Scientists suspect there are numerous mineral resources in the area.

The lander is still communicating with the control center, it was said.

Data will now be collected until the sun no longer reaches the landing site and charging the solar batteries is no longer possible.

With the “Nova-C” lander, nicknamed “Odysseus” or “Ody,” a US device landed on the moon for the first time in more than 50 years last week.

However, during landing, one of Odysseus's legs got caught on the lunar surface, causing the device to tip over sideways.

“However, Odysseus continues to communicate with flight control,” Intuitive Machines said.

Electricity will probably only last until Tuesday

Despite lying on his side, Odysseus received electricity from his solar panels.

However, according to Intuitive Machines, this will probably only be the case until Tuesday.

Until then, flight control will continue to be able to download data from Odysseus.

Because of the lunar lander's sideways position, its mission will probably be shortened somewhat.

According to the original plan, Odysseus was supposed to transmit data for seven days, including temperature and radiation measurements and soil surveys.

The aim of the mission called IM-1 is to research the requirements for manned lunar missions in the area around the lunar crater Malapert A.

The US space agency Nasa wants to bring astronauts to the moon again in 2026 with its Artemis program.

Odysseus has several NASA devices on board.

The space agency paid Intuitive Machines $118 million (almost €109 million) for the transport.

The size of an old-fashioned telephone booth

The Nova-C lander is about the size of an old-fashioned British telephone booth, has aluminum legs, weighs around 700 kilograms and can carry around 130 kilograms of cargo.

NASA has used a large part of it with research equipment and other material, while commercial companies have secured the rest for their projects.

NASA wants to hire private companies for future cargo flights to the moon.

The Earth satellite will also be a stopover for future manned flights to Mars.

The South Pole is a candidate for a base camp on the moon because its ice could potentially be used to produce drinking water and rocket fuel.

Moon landings are considered to be technically extremely demanding and often go wrong.

This year alone, two planned landings have turned out differently than hoped.