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Odysseus Plans to Rest After Sharing Photos of Moon Landing

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Intuitive Machines reports that Odysseus will be put to sleep for a long lunar night, with plans to wake it up once the sun rises near the moon’s south pole. The company, based in Houston, along with NASA, held a briefing at Johnson Space Center in Texas to recap Odysseus’s six days of operation on the lunar surface. They shared images of its off-kilter configuration and discussed the next steps for the mission.

Originally, the plan was to shut down the solar-powered spacecraft when the sun went down. However, Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus revealed that they will be placing Odysseus in hibernation and attempting to reestablish contact in three weeks. He mentioned, “We are going to leave the computers and the power system in a place where we can wake it up and do this development test objective, to actually try to ping it with an antenna and see if we can’t wake it up once it gets power again.” This decision indicates the commitment of the team to continue the mission despite setbacks.

Last week, Odysseus achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first commercial spacecraft to land on the moon. NASA had partnered with Intuitive Machines for this mission under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, paying $118 million for the delivery of six science instruments to the lunar surface. Sue Lederer, NASA’s project scientist for CLPS, expressed excitement about the successful completion of objectives by NASA’s payloads. The collaboration between the space agency and private companies like Intuitive Machines demonstrates a new era of exploration in the 21st century.

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However, the mission faced challenges during the landing phase, with at least 11 critical moments that required decisive action from the team. One significant issue was the failure of the lander’s laser range-finding system, resulting in a rough landing. Despite this setback, Odysseus managed to stay upright but at an angle that affected its solar absorption and antenna alignment. These complications made it challenging for data transmission, but engineers worked diligently to resolve the issues and maximize data collection.

The successful retrieval of data will aid NASA in planning future robotic missions under the CLPS program, leading up to the Artemis program’s crewed trip to the lunar south polar region. The mission also carried private-sector payloads, including a mini-camera system developed by faculty and students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Although there were obstacles in deploying some of the payloads, the mission team persevered in troubleshooting and addressing any issues that arose.

Looking ahead, there are uncertainties about Odysseus’s revival after enduring the extreme cold of the lunar night. The team acknowledges that the batteries and other essential systems are not tested for such low temperatures. Despite the challenges, there is hope for reviving the lander after the lunar night, mirroring past successes in space exploration, such as JAXA’s revival of its SLIM moon lander.

Steve Altemus emphasized that Odysseus’s mission signifies a new chapter in commercializing moon exploration and opening up opportunities for broader participation in space exploration. He envisions a future where more individuals and organizations can contribute to space endeavors, inspired by the achievements of Odysseus and its role as a trailblazer in the industry.

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Trump and Mike Johnson to Announce Plans for Ensuring Election Integrity

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On a day when Speaker Mike Johnson found himself embroiled in controversy and facing the threat of losing his leadership position, a crucial lifeline came his way from an unexpected source – former President Donald J. Trump. The former president’s show of support for Johnson at a press conference held at Mar-a-Lago in Florida provided a much-needed boost to the embattled speaker.

Despite the challenges and opposition Mr. Johnson has faced in recent times, Mr. Trump’s endorsement could potentially help bolster his position within the party. The former president’s influence among House Republicans is undeniable, and his support could prove crucial in navigating the turbulent waters of legislative priorities.

However, the path ahead for Mr. Johnson remains uncertain, as he grapples with internal dissent from members like Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. The threat of a motion to oust the speaker looms large, adding to the already precarious nature of his leadership.

In the midst of these challenges, Mr. Trump and Mr. Johnson are set to make an announcement on ‘Election Integrity,’ a topic that has been a focal point for the former president since his defeat in the 2020 election. The issue of voter fraud and the security of elections have been at the forefront of Mr. Trump’s public statements, and it seems that Mr. Johnson is aligning himself with these views.

Mr. Johnson’s public support for Mr. Trump’s allegations of voter fraud signals a shift in his stance on the matter. By endorsing the former president’s claims and proposing legislation to address election integrity issues, Mr. Johnson is aligning himself with a key pillar of Mr. Trump’s political agenda.

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The announcement of their joint initiative on election integrity comes at a time when the Republican Party is deeply divided on the issue. With tensions running high within the party, Mr. Johnson’s alliance with Mr. Trump on this front could have significant implications for the future of the GOP.

As Mr. Johnson and Mr. Trump prepare to unveil their plans on election integrity, reactions from both sides of the political spectrum are already emerging. Democrats have preemptively labeled the announcement as a “sham,” accusing Mr. Trump and Mr. Johnson of prioritizing political motives over genuine concerns about election security.

Meanwhile, Republicans are likely to view the joint announcement as a show of unity and a reaffirmation of their commitment to addressing issues of voter fraud and election integrity. The party’s stance on these issues is expected to play a significant role in shaping the political landscape leading up to the 2024 presidential election.

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