Earth Machine Odysseus Lands on Moon, Falls Over
This image provided by Intuitive Machines shows a view from the Odysseus lunar lander made with a fisheye lens on Feb. 22, 2024. Before its power was depleted, Odysseus sent this photo in its farewell transmission, received on Thursday, Feb. 29. (Intuitive Machines via AP)

Earth Machine Odysseus Lands on Moon, Falls Over

February 29th, 2024

A machine from Earth named Odysseus went to the moon. It landed near the moon's bottom part on February 22, 2024. When it landed, one of its legs broke, and it fell on its side. This made it hard to talk to Earth. Odysseus sent a last photo to Earth with a circle shape picture of the moon, a little Earth, and a small sun. Then, the people who control Odysseus turned off its computer and power to save it for later. They hope Odysseus wakes up in a few weeks after a very cold moon night. Odysseus was made to work for about one week on the moon. It carried experiments for NASA. NASA gave money to Odysseus' trip to the moon. They want these trips to help astronauts go to the moon later. The last time the USA went to the moon was a long time ago in 1972. Odysseus did a good job even when it had problems. The people who made Odysseus are very happy and hope to hear from it again.
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💭 Discussion Questions

. What is the name of the machine that went to the moon?
. What happened to the machine when it landed on the moon?
. Who gave money for Odysseus' trip to the moon?

📖 Vocabulary

🌐 Cultural context

Odysseus is a space robot from the United States, a country with a space agency called NASA. The U.S. explores space and sent this robot to the moon. NASA supports space missions to learn more and prepare for astronauts, who are like space travelers, to return to the moon.

🧠 Further reading

Chinese Lunar Exploration Program
China has a space program to explore the Moon. It is called the Chang'e Project. They use special rockets to send robots to the Moon. These robots can move around, land, and bring back pieces of the Moon. There are big antennas in China that talk to the robots. People in China are working on this space program. One man named Ouyang Ziyuan wants to get special metals and a gas from the Moon. The Chang'e 1 robot went to the Moon in 2007. The Chang'e 2 robot went to the Moon in 2010. The Chang'e 3 robot landed on the Moon in 2013 with a rover to look around. The Chang'e 4 robot landed on the Moon in 2019. It went to a special place near the bottom of the Moon. China wants to send people to the Moon by 2030. This is a big plan!

Laser communication in space
In space, people can send messages with lasers. Lasers go very far. They send messages quickly. Long ago, people could only use radios to send messages in space, but lasers are better because they are faster. A long time ago, in 1968, a camera on the moon saw two lasers from Earth. In 1992, a space probe saw lasers from Earth again, from very far away. In 1995, Japan sent messages from a satellite to Earth with lasers. In 2001, two satellites sent messages to each other with lasers in space for the first time. It was very quick! Since then, satellites use lasers to talk to each other. People in space keep trying with lasers because they work well for talking over the long distances in space.

List of missions to the Moon
People have been going to the Moon to learn more about it. A long time ago, a spacecraft called Luna 2 from a place called the Soviet Union was the first to touch the Moon on September 13, 1959. Later, Luna 9 landed softly on the Moon first. Luna 10 went around the Moon without landing, and Zond 5 flew close to the Moon with some small animals inside. From 1968 to 1972, the United States sent people to the Moon with the Apollo missions. Apollo 8 went around the Moon first with people inside. Then, six missions took people to walk on the Moon. The first man to walk there was Neil Armstrong in 1969. Apollo 13 was supposed to land, but it just flew around the Moon because there was a problem. The Soviet Union sent robots to the Moon and brought back pieces of the Moon to Earth. They tried to send robots to drive on the Moon and to bring back Moon pieces many times. Some worked! Lots of different places have sent things to the Moon, like Japan, Europe, and China. Some missions just flew by the Moon or used it to help move in space. There was even a special radio in space that used the Moon to block noise from Earth. People and robots from all over have visited the Moon for many years.