Blue pearl: Probe heading to the Moon photographed the Earth

Intuitive Machines published images taken by the Odysseus probe shortly after launch. You can see our planet on them.

Image of the Earth taken by the Odysseus probe. The second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket can also be seen in the frame. Source: Intuitive Machines

Odysseus was launched on February 15, 2024, by a Falcon 9 rocket. In some of the images taken by the spacecraft, you can see its second stage. But still, our planet attracts the most attention. It looks like a real blue pearl, located in the middle of the boundless blackness of space. The part of the Earth where Australia is located fell into the sight of the Odysseus camera.

Image of the Earth taken by the Odysseus probe. Source: Intuitive Machines

According to Intuitive Machines, after separation from the rocket, Odysseus successfully activated the engines, completing the necessary maneuver. If everything goes according to plan, the probe will enter a 100-kilometer circular orbit around the Moon on February 21. The next day, it will try to land. Odysseus is supposed to land in the 24-kilometer Malapert A crater, located about 300 km from the South Pole of the moon. Not far from it is the so-called Malapert massif, its peak is considered as one of the possible landing sites of the Artemis III expedition.

Image of the Earth taken by the Odysseus probe. Source: Intuitive Machines

If the mission is successful, Intuitive Machines will become the first private company to solve the problem of landing on the moon. The estimated operating time of Odysseus on the lunar surface is seven days.

Odysseus probe selfie. Source: Intuitive Machines

Twelve cargoes are placed on board the spacecraft. Six of them are owned by NASA, six are provided by private customers. You can learn more about them and the technical design of Odysseus from our article.

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