More than four days after its launch and despite a fuel leak that doomed the mission, an American company's lunar lander is continuing its operations in space as best it can – at least for now.
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The start-up Astrobotic, which developed the Peregrine lander, would attempt the first landing of an American device on the moon in more than 50 years.
But the company announced earlier this week that the device would not be able to land on the lunar surface as planned.
Despite everything, Astrobotic teams continue to look for “solutions to extend its lifespan,” the company said on Friday, which it now operates as a ship to collect as much data as possible for a future attempt.
According to the young company, the anomaly that occurred shortly after launch on Monday could be due to a defective valve that caused a “tank” to burst. Result: There is a fuel leak from the lander.
Astrobotic didn't give up and its efforts were worth it: the machine managed to stay on its trajectory for the time being and move more than 350,000 kilometers away from Earth.
The onboard cargo, including NASA scientific instruments, successfully transmitted data. Two of them are making in-flight radiation measurements, NASA said.
“Sending a ship to the moon is not easy,” wrote Nicky Fox, NASA’s deputy administrator in charge of scientific missions, on X (ex-Twitter). “I recognize Astrobotic’s hard work, persistence and commitment in meeting the challenges of their mission.”
How the lander will end its adventure is not yet clear, although some space fans are speculating about a possible crash on the lunar surface.