Ailing Peregrine moon lander on path to crash into Earth, Astrobotic says


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

Peregrine launched toward the moon on Jan. 8 atop a United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket, but suffered a critical fuel leak shortly after separating from the booster. That loss of fuel doomed Peregrine’s chances to soft-land on the moon next month, according to its builder Astrobotic. While the company has been fighting to keep the lander alive as long as possible, the probe’s days are definitely numbered due to its trajectory, Astrobotic said. 

“Our analysis efforts have been challenging due to the propellant leak, which have been adding uncertainty to predictions of the vehicle’s trajectory,” Astrobotic wrote in an update on X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday. “Our latest assessment now shows the spacecraft is on a path towards Earth, where it will likely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.”

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