US Moon mission destroyed over Pacific Ocean
CALIFORNIA (Web Desk) A US spacecraft namely Peregrine One launched last week to try to land on the Moon has ended its mission in flames as it was commanded to destroy itself instead over the Pacific.
The mission suffered a propulsion fault that scuppered any prospect of a lunar touch-down. The private operator, Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic, directed the craft into Earth’s atmosphere to burn up.
A tracking station in Canberra, Australia, confirmed loss of signal with Peregrine at 20:59 GMT. Little or no remains of Peregrine were expected to survive intact to the ocean surface. And even if they did, they should have impacted far away from any population.
Its goal had been to deliver five Nasa instruments to the Moon’s surface, to study the local environment ahead of the return of astronauts later this decade. Had the Peregrine craft been able to land successfully, it would have become the first American mission in half a century to do so, and the first ever private venture to achieve the feat. Only government agencies from the US, the Soviet Union, China and India have managed controlled lunar landings to date.
However, the mission was in trouble almost as soon as it came off the top of its launch rocket on Monday 8 January. It can, though, console itself with what it did manage to accomplish in difficult circumstances by continuing to operate Peregrine in space for more than 10 days.