Moon Lander Odysseus Falls Over on Moon
This image provided by Intuitive Machines shows a broken landing leg on the Odysseus lander. The lander touched down near the moon's south pole on Feb. 22, 2024, but then fell over on its side, hampering communications. (Intuitive Machines via AP)

Moon Lander Odysseus Falls Over on Moon

February 28th, 2024

A moon lander named Odysseus went to the moon. It landed near the moon's south pole. When it landed, one of its legs broke and it fell over. This made it hard to talk to it. People on Earth took new pictures of the lander. They wanted to see where it was. The pictures helped them understand better. Odysseus had some trouble. It came down too fast and the legs could not hold it. It fell on its side. It was supposed to work for one week, but it might stop early because it does not have enough power. The moon gets very, very cold at night. If the lander gets too cold, it might not work anymore. A space company made Odysseus. They sent it with special tools to the moon. The moon lander had a U.S. flag and some other things inside it. This lander is the first one a private company sent to the moon. Before, only some countries did this. NASA, the U.S. space group, is planning to send astronauts to the moon again. They will go to where Odysseus landed. They think this lander did a good job, even if it had some problems.
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💭 Discussion Questions

. What is the name of the moon lander?
. Where did the moon lander land?
. Did the lander work perfectly?

📖 Vocabulary

🌐 Cultural context

The article is from the United States, a country with a strong interest in space exploration. The U.S. has a space agency called NASA, which has sent astronauts to the moon before. Now, private companies are also involved in space missions.

🧠 Further reading

Lunar lander
There is a special kind of spaceship called a Moon lander. It is made to land on the Moon. Long ago, people from the United States used a Moon lander called the Apollo Lunar Module. It landed on the Moon six times from 1969 to 1972. Other Moon landers that robots controlled also went to the Moon. Some even brought back dirt from the Moon to Earth. People worked on how to make Moon landers for a long time. A country called the Soviet Union made some of the first Moon landers. One of them, Luna 9, was the first to land softly on the Moon in 1966. They sent more Luna spaceships and got dirt from the Moon. They also sent two rovers to drive around the Moon. The United States had their own Moon landers called Surveyor. The first one landed softly on the Moon in 1966. They sent more Surveyor landers, and one even hopped on the Moon! But so far, only the Apollo Lunar Module from the United States has carried people to the Moon.

Future of space exploration
People will look at stars and planets with big telescopes and send robots into space. Soon, there may be trips to the Moon and Mars. People might live there one day. Space is big and has many things to find. Robots will go far away in space. People spend more money on looking at space now. In the past, two big countries wanted to be first in space. Now, companies and countries want to keep Earth safe and use what is in space. Building homes in space is important. If something bad happens on Earth, people can live on other planets. Space has many things we can use to make life better. We can find clean energy in space. It is hard and costs a lot of money to go to space, but people are trying.

Tardigrades on the Moon
A small space robot from Israel went to the Moon on April 11, 2019, but it crashed. It had very tiny animals called water bears inside. People think these little animals may have lived through the crash. They are very strong and can live in very cold and very hot places. They are the fourth kind of animal to go to the Moon after people, fruit flies, and silkworms. Water bears are amazing because they can live in space and very bad places on Earth. They can stop their body working for a long time and wake up again many years later. This helps scientists learn about life in space.