February 22, 2024 4:12 PM   Subscribe

'U.S. lands unmanned Odysseus spacecraft on moon'."Update for 6:45pm ET: Touchdown! Intuitive Machines that its IM-1 lander Odysseus has landed on the moon and is transmitting a faint, but definite, signal. The exact health of the craft is unclear, but it has landed, Intuitive Machines reports." After some still unconfirmed problems, "The Odysseus lander is "not dead yet" 'Intuitive Machines' Odysseus lander is aiming for a crater near the moon's south pole. Here's why'
posted by clavdivs (25 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
In a word: Goody!
posted by y2karl at 4:49 PM on February 22 [2 favorites]

Odysseus spacecraft

Problem with naming it that is, it'll likely take ten years for it to get back home.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:49 PM on February 22 [19 favorites]

oh ok wait what ?
posted by MonsieurPEB at 5:37 PM on February 22 [8 favorites]

This thing about the Intuitive Machine original navigation sensors failing during the pre-descent orbit and a software update sent to the lander at the last minute re-routing instead to use data from a NASA LIDAR experiment in the payload is truly one for the history books. Crazy. I was watching live... as they delayed the landing time to allow the software update apparently... and then the lander autonomously chooses a landing site... while using re-jiggered data... I was expecting a crash. From here:

A couple of hours before landing, an apparent issue with Odysseus’ navigation systems force the lander to rely on experimental technology, resulting in a “dynamic situation,” according to Gary Jordan, a NASA communications manager.

“Intuitive Machines made the decision to reassign the primary navigation sensors from Odysseus … to use the sensors on NASA’s Navigation Doppler Lidar,” according to the webcast.

The Lidar payload is an experimental technology that aimed to test out how future landers would make more precise landings on the moon. It’s designed to shoot laser beams to the ground to give exact measurements of speed and direction of flight, according to Farzin Amzajerdian, NASA’s principal investigator for the instrument.

With its landing legs and sensors pointed toward the lunar terrain, Odysseus relied on the Lidar payload to locate a safe landing spot.

And even after they said they had a weak signal, so it landed, I figured it was tipped on its head like the Japanese SLIM last month. But hey, now they say it landed upright and is downloading data. Amazing.
posted by brambleboy at 7:07 PM on February 22 [5 favorites]

Following the link, what is it about this site that is preferable for settling by humans? Is it less radiation? Reduced temperature variability?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:53 PM on February 22

Any ice on the moon would need to be in permanent shadow, which you'd only get in deep craters at the poles.
posted by ver at 8:08 PM on February 22 [2 favorites]

Possibly some located under the surface, but finding it might be a bit of a problem.

Glad the lander seems to be doing OK! That was.... wow that was an iffy landing.
posted by sotonohito at 8:25 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]

Well thank god we have a modern private corporation landing robots on the moon.
Can you imagine if we had tried a moon landing in say the '60's?! Run by a government agency; can you imagine, I mean the waste and cost? My god, they'd probably have to have used humans to go to the moon? And how would you even write software for something like that in cobal or fortran or something.? We all know those government morons couldn't have handled that. But corporations have gotten us there in no time! At cost savings to boot! I love that everything is being done in the private sector and we don't have to waste our tax resources on this. We can take that money and fix the problems in the middle east, and get blackwater, er Xe services, doh! I mean Academi to help!
posted by evilDoug at 10:13 PM on February 22 [11 favorites]

pics or it didn't happen
posted by Morpeth at 6:38 AM on February 23 [1 favorite]

I’m not expecting any pictures until the press conference at 5pm EST.
posted by Headfullofair at 7:54 AM on February 23

Thank you for this post, clavdivs. Including it in one of my space updates.
posted by doctornemo at 8:18 AM on February 23 [2 favorites]

Yay, and fascinating update brambleboy!
posted by ellieBOA at 8:36 AM on February 23

Well thank god we have a modern private corporation landing robots on the moon.

Flagged for low-effort trolling. Why does someone feel the need to shit on every single space-related thread on MeFi with the same "why don't we spend that money on world hunger" bullshit that was old when the Space Shuttles were new?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 9:04 AM on February 23 [2 favorites]

I think perhaps you've misread the intent of evilDoug's post. They seem to actually be trolling the conservatives who claim the government money we spend exploring would be spent on better things if we privatized space exploration (and most things), but when we do privatize, we still don't use government money to solve world hunger.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:40 AM on February 23 [6 favorites]

That seems like a charitable reading, but how much does that matter, with respect to this post? A private company has, in fact, landed something on the moon for scientific research, what's the point of being snotty and sarcastic about it?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 9:58 AM on February 23 [3 favorites]

Oh, and just to get it out of the way:

MetaFilter: what's the point of being snotty and sarcastic about it?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 10:10 AM on February 23 [4 favorites]

Can we talk about the gender disparity in the mission control room? Because it wasn't good. I don't think that control room could have passed the Bechdel test. It bums me out that space exploration, which is very much symbolically "the future!" can look like such a boys club in 2024.
posted by surlyben at 10:17 AM on February 23 [5 favorites]

Maybe because there's this absurd distinction between government and private spaceflight that exists to privatize the accomplishments and socialize the losses?

Intuitive Machines was working under a contract from NASA. NASA helped coordinate the launch and provided vital infrastructure. To say this is a 'private company' landing something on the moon is a bit of a misnomer and reduces enormous role the public played in making it happen. Yes, they had more autonomy than previous government contractors who participated in the space program, but it's not like they're going it alone which is what most of the publicity would have you believe.

As always, SpaceX is a far more egregious example. When they purposefully blow up rockets as part of their 'fail early, fail often' engineering strategy, everyone praises them for being innovative while forgetting that the reason they can afford to be so reckless is on account of the large government contracts they have. If NASA did the same thing with taxpayer's money there would be congressional hearings, but it's a-OK for SpaceX to do it because they're a private company.

I'm happy that they've accomplished a soft moon landing, but like let's not pretend that this is some independent effort on the part of a private company.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:22 AM on February 23 [11 favorites]

The headline "Government Contractor Lands on Moon; Fulfills Contract To Produce Platform That Can Land On Moon" doesn't quite have the Silicon Valley techno-libertarian connotations that "Private Company Lands On Moon" has.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:00 AM on February 23 [6 favorites]

Mod note: One comment deleted. Please avoid turning this thread into a 1-1 discussion.
posted by loup (staff) at 1:11 PM on February 23

Whoopsie, Odysseus has apparently tipped over.

Intuitive Machines, the company that built the six-footed lander, initially said it was upright. But CEO Steve Altemus said Friday that the lander "caught a foot in the surface and tipped" and landed on its side, likely leaning on a rock. [CBC]
posted by prinado at 4:03 PM on February 23 [4 favorites]

posted by clavdivs at 4:52 PM on February 23

Anyone interested in hearing it from the horse's mouth, a recording of the 5pm EST press conference can be found here (YT link)
posted by brambleboy at 6:18 PM on February 23 [2 favorites]

Between this and the Japanese effort, I expect a lot of research into self-righting lunar probes over the next decade...

Totally a problem that any KSP player can relate to. The standard recovery involves wildly spinning reaction wheels and hoping you don't break the solar panels.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:51 PM on February 23 [3 favorites]

TBH, given the possibility, I'm kind of surprised we don't already have landers designed to self right.
posted by sotonohito at 12:51 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]

« Older Smart Move(?)   |   Super Happy Fun Star Trek: The Next Generation... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments