That moment when you land on the Moon, break a leg, and are about to topple over

Ars Technica » Scientific Method 2024-02-28

A photo of <em>Odysseus</em> the moment before it gently toppled over.

Enlarge / A photo of Odysseus the moment before it gently toppled over. (credit: Intuitive Machines)

After six days and the public release of new images, engineers have finally pieced together the moments before, during, and after the Odysseus lander touched down on the Moon.

During a news conference on Wednesday, the chief executive of Intuitive Machines, Steve Altemus, described what his company has learned about what happened last Thursday evening as Odysseus made its powered descent down to the Moon.

From their control room in Houston, the mission operators watched with fraying nerves, as their range finders had failed. A last-minute effort to use altitude data from a NASA payload on board failed because the flight computer on board Odysseus could not ingest it in time. So the lander was, in essence, coming down to the Moon without any real-time altimetry data.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments