Last week, the space world watched in horror and disbelief as the first U.S. lunar lander since Apollo lifted off for the moon and immediately met trouble. Peregrine was forced to return home after a propellant spill caused Astrobotic’s lander to burn up on re-entry.
While not the most exciting end to one of 2024’s most anticipated space missions, the destruction of Astrobotic’s iconic lander was probably for the best and was even spurred on by NASA, according to certain reports.
Peregrine, Astrobotic’s first mission into space. The company still has a lot to learn. This is fine. However, when the Peregrine lander found itself facing destruction during its mission, Astrobotic turned to NASA.
According to John Thornton, the CEO of Astrobotic, NASA’s recommendation was to send the lander back to Earth, where it could safely be disposed of as it burned up during re-entry. (via Ars Technica)
Tech. Entertainment. Science. Your inbox.
Sign up for the most interesting tech & entertainment news out there.
Email: SIGN UP
Sure, they could have tried to make it to the moon. In fact, the propellant leak that caused all of the hubbub seemed to have stopped by the time the spacecraft shifted around.
Moving Peregrine away from its flight path back to Earth, where it could find destruction safely, would have required firing the main engines, though. This could possibly have caused it to blow up, causing debris to fall into the area around the Moon.
With the upcoming Artemis missions still in the works, pumping a ton of debris into space around the Moon probably isn’t the smartest move. NASA advised that Peregrine be allowed to burn in Earth’s atmospheric. It was a failure, yes. It also meant that future missions to the Moon wouldn’t need to worry about debris.
The post Why NASA advised Astrobotic not to send Peregrine to the Moon appeared first on BGR.