On January 12, Peregrine finally reached lunar distance. Of course, the Moon wasn’t there, as the spacecraft’s original trajectory had a much different timeline. Now, though, the spacecraft is barreling back toward Earth, and while the team is sure it could keep it from burning up, Astrobotic’s latest Peregrine update says that it is safer to let the spacecraft re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and burn up.
In the latest update, Astrobotic talked more about the company’s ongoing mission to make the Moon more accessible. The Peregrine mission was more than just a possible return to the Moon for the U.S. It was also a mission 16 years in the making. As such, the team behind Peregrine has done everything that it can to bring the mission back into play.
Over the past six days that Peregrine has been in transit, the team has worked tirelessly to get the payloads operational and to gather as much payload data as possible. However, the latest Peregrine update sheds more light on the current situation. Peregrine is completely doomed. As such, it will soon re-enter Earth’s orbit and burn up during re-entry.
While the team believes that it could keep Peregrine stabilized long enough to move it beyond Earth’s pull, they also believe that the current setup for Peregrine could be too dangerous for other spacecraft. As such, they’re going to let it drop into Earth’s atmosphere and burn up.
It’s a really sad and disappointing end to the Peregrine mission, especially since the mission had so much historical value to offer. However, space is hard. And landing on the moon is exceptionally difficult. It will be interesting to see what Astrobotic does to move past this and what other missions it plans to work on in the coming months and years.
For now, though, all we can do is wait on new Peregrine updates as we count down the hours and days until the spacecraft finally reaches Earth’s atmosphere and burns up back where it started.