Odysseus, Moon Machine, Lands and Sends Photos
This image provided by Intuitive Machines on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024 shows its Odysseus lunar lander over the south pole region of the Moon. The toppled lunar lander is still beaming back pictures of the moon, as its nears the final hours of its life. The photos were taken shortly before last Thursday's touchdown. (Intuitive Machines via AP)

Odysseus, Moon Machine, Lands and Sends Photos

February 27th, 2024

A moon machine called Odysseus landed on the moon. It is on its side but still sends pictures to Earth. It is very cold and dark on the moon now. So, Odysseus will soon stop working. Odysseus took pictures of a new place on the moon. People have not seen this place before. Odysseus is the first moon machine from a company, not a country, to land softly. It has been more than 50 years since America made a soft landing on the moon. Before Odysseus, another moon machine tried to land but did not work. It is important for learning about the moon and for science.
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💭 Discussion Questions

. What is the name of the machine that landed on the moon?
. Is Odysseus still working and sending pictures to Earth?
. What is special about Odysseus compared to other moon machines?

📖 Vocabulary

🌐 Cultural context

Odysseus is a spacecraft. The moon is Earth's satellite. The U.S. went to the moon over 50 years ago. Companies now also send spacecrafts to explore, not just countries. This is part of space exploration history.

🧠 Further reading

Japanese Lunar Exploration Program
Japan has a space program called the Lunar Exploration Program. It is to learn about the Moon's past and think about using it in the future. They sent a robot called SELENE to the Moon in 2007. Japan wants to send people to the Moon one day and stay there to learn more. They have done some Moon missions before. One mission was called Hiten, and it flew to space in 1990. Another one, also called SELENE, went to the Moon in 2007. They named it after a Moon princess from a Japanese story. There is also a Moon lander planned called SLIM. Japan is working hard to explore the Moon.

Private spaceflight
Space companies that are not part of the government do important work in space. They make and fly rockets and space ships. They also help send satellites into space, take astronauts up, and let people visit space if they have a lot of money. These companies are not like NASA. They are new and do things by themselves. They make better rockets and make going to space easier and cheaper. Some people worry about the trash in space and how we use space resources. Some famous companies that send rockets to space are SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and Axiom Space. They work on exciting space trips and help us learn more about space. A long time ago, only countries could send things to space. They used their military pilots to fly. No private space trips were possible. Now, there are many companies that can go to space.

Autonomous robot
Robots can do things by themselves, without people helping them. Long ago, two robots named Elmer and Elsie were made. They could think a bit like us and moved toward light. Today, we have robots that clean and cars that drive without a person. Robots need to look after themselves. Some can charge their own batteries. They know when they need power or if they are too hot. Robots use different ways to feel these things. Robots also need to know about what's around them. They use special tools to understand their place and to stay safe. If something goes wrong with their tools, the robots try to fix the problem.