Published: Oct. 3, 2023 By

Photo of the  The Nova-C lander is seen at Intuitive Machines' facility in Houston, Texas.From arsTechnica: NASA has not sent a spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Moon since the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. Since that time, the Soviet Union, China, and India have successfully landed there, but the United States has gone elsewhere. There are various reasons for this, including a sharp focus by NASA on exploration of Mars. But now that is finally about to change.

I am standing in a gleaming facility in Houston, a few kilometers from the storied Johnson Space Center, in a facility formally known as the Lunar Production and Operations Center. It is where a small company called Intuitive Machines builds machines designed to land on the Moon. And standing before me, 4.3 meters tall, is a real-life lunar lander.

Like, seriously. This sucker will be launched within a month or two on a Falcon 9 rocket. And one way or another, it is going to the Moon. Maybe it will crash. Maybe it will make its desired soft landing. But one way or another, the United States is finally getting back into the Moon game.

It has been far too long.