NASA Moonlander Suffers ‘Critical Loss of Propellant’

NASA Moonlander Suffers  ‘Critical Loss of Propellant’
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The Facts

  • Following its launch on Monday, NASA's new lunar lander reportedly suffered a “critical loss of propellant,” discovered after it was unable to orientate itself towards the sun and charge its batteries due to a propulsion system failure. The launch of the lander, built by Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology, comes over 51 years after NASA's last Apollo mission.

  • According to Astrobotic, the company was able to re-establish communication with the spacecraft after a short blackout, and an improvised maneuver successfully reoriented the moon lander, known as Peregrine. They added that they were "working to try and stabilise [sic] this loss" while assessing "what alternative mission profiles may be feasible at this time.”

The Spin

Narrative A

2024 will see a series of attempts made by NASA to once again reach the moon, hopefully culminating in manned missions. The long-term plan is to settle human beings on earth's only natural satellite, making it the stepping stone for ventures into deep space. While the financial viability of such ambitions, especially for private parties, remains unclear, it is hoped that some form of lunar "commercial economy" will evolve as a result of these initiatives.

Narrative B

The very fact that no one has tried to travel to the moon since 1972 must tell us something: it is a non-viable, pointless exercise. NASA has already spent more than $40B on its Artemis moon mission, and will likely rack up greater costs than even this staggering figure. NASA's plans have no real value to most people on earth. We need to do more to improve things on this planet, instead of trying slingshots elsewhere.

Nerd narrative

There is a 50% chance that the next human being will walk on the moon by Nov. 2028, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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