Landers / Rovers

Blogs about landers and rovers

Animation of the lander and ascent module of the Chang'e-6 mission (Image courtesy Xinhua/Jin Liwang)

It was early morning in China when the lander and ascent module of the Chinese Chang’e-6 mission successfully completed their Moon landing maneuvers in the South Pole-Aitken basin area. The various modules that make up Chang’e-6 were launched on May 3 and reached lunar orbit in recent days. At that point, a series of maneuvers began to make the orbit circular, the modules that were supposed to land on the Moon separated and everything went well. In that area, direct communications with Earth are impossible, so contact was maintained using the Queqiao-2 satellite as a relay.

The Chang'e 6 mission's vechicles blasting off (Photo courtesy Xinhua/Guo Cheng)

A few hours ago, the Chang’e 6 mission was successfully launched. A Long March 5 rocket blasted off from the Wenchang space center and after about 36 minutes an orbiter and a lander separated from the rocket’s last stage to begin their journey to the Moon. The aim is to take samples of lunar soil on the far side of the Moon and bring them back to Earth.

The Chang’e 6 mission is a sort of evolution of the previous Chang’e 5, launched on November 23, 2020, which brought lunar samples back to Earth on December 16, 2020. The crucial difference is that in this new mission, the landing of a lander will take place in the South Pole-Aitken basin area, on the far side of the Moon. The choice is due to the fact that there are geological differences between the two faces of the Moon.

A simulation of Odysseus Moon landing (Image courtesy Intuitive Machines / NASA TV)

It was the afternoon in the USA when Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C Odysseus lander attempted its Moon landing in the Malapert A crater. It was an autonomous maneuver that constituted the crucial step of the IM-1 mission. It took about 10 minutes to receive the first faint signals from Odysseus but they were invaluable in confirming the Moon landing. At Intuitive Machines’ mission control center, work began to have regular communications that allow them to understand Odysseus’ exact status and receive the data collected, including images.

Photo of the area where a river delta entered the lake that existed in Jezero Crater (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” reports new evidence that Jezero Crater on Mars was a lake when the red planet was young and much more Earth-like. A team of researchers coordinated by UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) and the University of Oslo used data collected by the RIMFAX radar (Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment) mounted on NASA’s Mars Rover Perseverance, exploiting its ability to carry out detections underground to a depth of 20 meters.

Data collected between May 20 and December 8, 2022, in a contact area between the crater floor and the delta of an ancient river, made it possible to map that area and reconstruct the sequence of erosions and sediment deposits. Conditions were favorable for the development of life forms and there may still be traces of them in the samples collected by Perseverance.