‘Everything has changed since Apollo’: Why landing on the moon is still incredibly difficult in 2024

On Thursday (Feb. 22), a phone booth-sized spacecraft named Odysseus made history. Landing at the moon’s south pole at 6:23 p.m. ET, Odysseus — built by the Houston-based company Intuitive Machines — became the first U.S. lander to touch down on the moon in more than 50 years, and the first private lander to ever reach the lunar surface.

This success was a welcome break from a string of lunar failures, with five of the previous nine attempted moon landings ending poorly for various nations and private companies.

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