Ailing Peregrine Moon Lander Is On Track To Fall To Earth, Astrobotic Says

The private lunar lander Peregrine, which suffered a fuel leak shortly after launch last week, is now on a collision course with Earth, its construction company said on Saturday (Jan 13).

Peregrine was launched toward the Moon on January 8 by a United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket, but suffered a critical fuel leak shortly after separation from the booster. The loss of that fuel destroyed Peregrine's chances of a soft landing on the moon next month, according to its builder, Astrobotic. As the agency struggles to keep the lander alive as long as possible, the probe's days are certainly numbered because of its trajectory, Astrobotic said.

“Our analysis efforts are challenged by propellant leakage, which adds uncertainty to predictions of the vehicle's trajectory,” Astrobotic wrote. In an update on X (formerly Twitter) Saturday. “Our latest estimate now shows the spacecraft is on its way to Earth, where it will burn up in Earth's atmosphere.”

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