Though it may soon be falling into space, Astrobotic’s unfortunate Peregrine moon lander is gathering data for scientific purposes. NASA said in an update on Thursday that the lander’s payloads were successfully gathering data.
According to NASA, the goal is to prolong Peregrine’s mission as long as feasible to carry out data collection activities. According to Joel Kearns, deputy associate administrator for exploration with NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, “measurements and operations of the NASA-provided science instruments on board will provide valuable experience, technical knowledge, and scientific data to future CLPS lunar deliveries.” The statement was part of NASA’s announcement.
Early on January 8, Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic, a private space business, launched Peregrine Mission One in conjunction with NASA. The ultimate objective was to land on the moon in late February, marking the first US lunar landing in over 50 years. However, a propulsion system leak in Peregrine was discovered soon after launch, and the corporation revealed on Tuesday that there was hardly enough fuel left for a soft landing, only a few days’ supply.
As of Thursday night, Peregrine’s operational stability remains intact. Astrobotic stated in an update on Thursday at 4:01 PM PT that Peregrine has around 48 hours of fuel left, which is significantly more than what was predicted in its earlier estimates. This is because the rate of leak has slowed down over time.
In addition, Peregrine is carrying the tiny Iris Lunar Rover, which was constructed by students at Carnegie Mellon University with the intention of taking pictures on the moon. Astrobotic also shared a picture of Iris’s wheels and an American flag-adorned fuel tank on X today. “Hello, Earth!” was the message that Iris also conveyed to Earth.