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Photo of “Odysseus” shows a bent leg (left)

Photo: Intuitive Machines / UPI Photo / IMAGO

Last week, a US device landed on the moon for the first time in more than 50 years: “Odysseus”.

However, when it touched down, the lander tilted, according to the private space company Intuitive Machines.

New camera images that the company published on Wednesday provide information about what happened: The lunar probe, known as “Ody” for short, apparently broke at least one leg when it touched down.

According to Intuitive Machines, the probe descended too quickly and went into a spin when it touched down near the moon's south pole last Thursday.

The tilted position affects communication and the power supply, but the probe can still collect data.

The images from "Odysseus" confirmed, among other things, that the probe landed in a crater called "Malapart A" within a radius of 1.5 kilometers from the originally targeted landing site - and is therefore further south on the moon than any other spacecraft has ever been.

Scientists suspect numerous mineral resources in the area.

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.

The US artist Jeff Koons also sent along 125 miniature sculptures made of stainless steel.

It is uncertain whether “Odysseus” will wake up again after the moonlit night

After landing, "Odysseus" should be in operation for at least a week.

As expected, the lander's solar batteries would probably go empty on Thursday night because the sun no longer reached the landing site, Intuitive Machines and NASA announced on Wednesday.

However, it is hoped that it may be possible to contact the lander again when the sun reaches its location again in around two weeks.

"We'll pack Ody up for the cold and see if we can wake him up when the sun comes back," said Steve Altemus, head of Intutive Machines.

According to him, this was not part of the original plan and it is by no means certain that it will work.

The extreme cold of the moonlit night could damage the electronics and destroy the batteries.

“The Moonlit Night is no joke,” wrote mission leader Tim Crain on X, formerly Twitter.

»Imagine leaving your favorite electronics outside in Antarctica for 14 nights!«

Nevertheless, they decided to at least give it a try, said Altemus, in order to possibly be able to collect more data.

Overall, it has been a “very successful mission” so far.

Intuitive Machines is the first private company to land on the moon, a feat only five countries have achieved.