For the first time in history: A private spacecraft landed on the moon

On Saturday night, the small spacecraft Odysseus, which is associated with ‘Intuitive Machines’ company, landed on the moon. It has a similar structure and appearance to the landing crafts used by NASA over the past years. NASA participated in the financing of the flight and landing, but most of it was company-sponsored, making the spacecraft commercial, and making the landing the first time a private spacecraft landed on the moon.

The spacecraft is expected to perform a 14-day mission, mainly in the lunar south pole region (among the lesser known areas of the moon). The spacecraft has special NASA-provided instruments for research, including radio detectors for studying particles in the moon’s minerals; a camera for analyzing the impact of the moon’s landing; a laser index for measuring the spacecraft’s height above ground, and so on.

The mission began with a few bumps, since it was launched last week with a SpaceX spacecraft, when problems with the instruments were detected before landing, forcing the spacecraft to make another round around the moon while the Earth crew improvised a solution. During the landing itself, the spacecraft capsized on the ground, and for long, nerve-racking hours it could not be contacted; but eventually communication and data began to flow, and the spacecraft seemed not to be hit too hard.

An American spacecraft has not been on the moon since 1972, so this represents a significant innovation; this represents the acceleration of space exploration in recent years, with landings from various countries on the moon (such as Japan, India, and an Israeli experience), and plans for new human landings on the moon – such as the Artemis program expected to take place next year. We all hope that this renewed research will bring discoveries and innovations and will help advance humanity as a whole.

To respond – rxpuyhi@gmail.com

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