Jeff Koons’s ‘Moon Phases’ Sculptures Still Aboard Lunar Lander That May Lose Power

More than 100 Jeff Koons sculptures are still aboard the Nova C (Odysseus) lunar lander, which is likely soon to lose power and communication with flight control engineers. wedeqq

Nova C landed on the moon’s surface late last week, but according to Intuitive Machines, the company behind the lander, the craft came down on its side.

The botched landing on February 22 came after its two rangefinder lasers were unable to guide the touchdown because their safety switches had been engaged, the New York Times reported Thursday. The switches are able to be disabled only manually. There were other glitches and inaccuracies in the calculated trajectory that complicated the landing.

The tipped-over landing position leaves Odysseus’s solar panels and communications antennas improperly oriented, making communication difficult and power limited. wedeqq

Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus said during a recent briefing, according to the Verge, that the only cargo on Odysseus’s downward-facing side is in fact Koons’s “Moon Phases” sculptures, the 125 one-inch miniature Moons, each representing a phase of the moon and dedicated to a major historical figure, such as Mozart, Cleopatra, or Leonardo da Vinci. The sculptures are tied to a collection of NFTs available through Pace Verso, the titular gallery’s Web3 platform.

The “Moon Phases” sculptures were originally meant to make the trip in July 2022. They finally went up aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket in Odysseus on February 14.

Despite the difficulties, Odysseus marks the first successul US landing on the moon since 1972 and the first lunar landing by a privately manufactured and operated spacecraft, according to Reuters. wedeqq


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