The private American probe Odysseus remains active on the moon

The private American probe Odysseus remains active on the moon

After the American company Intuitive Machines announced the imminent end the day before, it announced on Wednesday that its Odysseus probe, which was the first private space probe to successfully land on the moon last week, was ultimately still active for the time being.

• Also read: The American private probe Odysseus will soon run out of battery

• Also read: The American probe Odysseus sends its first images from the south of the moon

• Also read: Odysseus Probe: Humanity must learn “many things” about the Moon in order to fly to Mars

Odysseus “continues to generate solar power on the Moon, allowing flight controllers to continue collecting data from the Moon's south polar region,” Intuitive Machines wrote on X.

However, the company said Tuesday morning that based on its analysis, the Odysseus batteries would only last 10 to 20 hours.

Intuitive Machines' teams are “analyzing new solar charging data and using the additional time to maximize actions that drive future exploration,” it added Wednesday.

A press conference is scheduled for early afternoon to provide further details on this latest twist in an eventful mission.

The probe is powered by its solar panels, but these are not optimally exposed to sunlight because the device did not land vertically as planned. Instead, he rolled over and ended up lying on his side.

Nevertheless, the mission was “a success from NASA’s perspective,” Bill Nelson, the head of the American space agency, told the press on Wednesday.

This private mission was launched largely thanks to funding from NASA, which contracted Intuitive Machines to transport six scientific instruments to the moon, a contract worth $118 million.

“We are on day six of what was originally an eight-day mission,” said Bill Nelson. “And we receive data from our six instruments.”

From the beginning, it was assumed that Odysseus's ground operations would be short-lived before night fell over the lunar south pole.

NASA wants to explore this region before sending its astronauts there as part of its Artemis missions.

Odysseus is the first American spacecraft to land on the moon since the end of the Apollo missions more than 50 years ago. It is also the probe that landed furthest south on the Moon.

This region is of particular interest to major powers because it could contain large amounts of water in the form of ice. This water could potentially be used to make fuel for spacecraft or to meet the needs of astronauts in the field.