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The ILO-X Mission

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The International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) is an interglobal enterprise incorporated in Hawai'i as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2007 to help realize an international lunar observatory (ILO) for long-term astronomy, science and exploration at the Moon's South Pole.

ILO-1 Flagship Mission

ILOA is pursuing the development of its flagship ILO-1 that is intended to land on the ~5,000-meter tall Malapert Mountain for astronomy, observation and communication. The ILO-1 mission, and the backup ILO-2 mission, are currently continuing development, with an estimated launch date no earlier than 2026.

ILO-X Mission

As a precursor to ILO-1, the ILO-X imaging system was launched on February 15, 2024, integrated aboard Intuitive Machines' Nova-C class lunar lander Odysseus. Consisting of two cameras developed by Canadensys Aerospace with ILOA, the near field-of-view (NFOV) camera Ka 'Imi, and the wide field-of-view (WFOV) camera Lunar Codex, the ILO-X payload touched down on the surface on the Moon east of Malapert A crater - at about a 2,579-meter altitude, on February 22, 2024.

In terms of images from the ILO-X instruments, to date ILOA has received (to be confirmed) 341 images in total from the mission - 14 of which were full jpgs, 2 HDR and 322 thumbnails - shared widely as the data is processed internally.

Besides its primary functions of lunar-based astrophysical imaging and communications, ILO-X also carries 40 digital assets, 2 of which - the Space Calendar Lunar Broadcast Edition Vol. 1 No.1, and the Space Calendar Lunar Advertisement “Broadcast your message from the Moon” - were transmitted back to Earth. The other files carried are artworks and images including Space Calendar first editions, an ILOA Galaxy Map, the ILO-1 Moon South Pole Astronomy Vision, International First Women on the Moon by Michael Carroll,  and a Moon Memorial / Contributors file.

These are separate and distinct from the Lunar Codex project's Nova collection, on the same NASA mission, of cultural artifacts archived as 674 monochrome Lunagrams and 1800 RGB images on NanoFiche.

Images on this page courtesy ILOA Hawai'i, unless otherwise indicated. 


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ILO-X WFOV Instrument Named Lunar Codex

28 March 2022

International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) is pleased to announce that its second lunar instrument on the Moon now has a new moniker. The ILO-X precursor dual imaging instruments landed on the Moon aboard Intuitive Machines’ IM-1 Nova-C lunar lander on 22 February 2024. The imaging suite includes a narrow and wide field-of-view camera which were intended to image the Milky Way Galaxy and Stars from the lunar surface.

The ILO-X NFOV was dubbed Ka ‘Imi (To Search) in 2022 after a Hawai’i state-wide student naming contest winner’s submission was selected by a panel of respected individuals in the local community. 

The ILO-X WFOV, now named Lunar Codex, captured high-res images from the surface of the Moon, during transit, and during Deorbit, Descent and Landing (DDL) with its 186° (fish eye) lens. 

Dr. Samuel Peralta bid to name the ILO-X lunar instrument Lunar Codex to spotlight his project The Lunar Codex which (so far) is an archive of 35,000+ artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers, representing 234 countries, territories, and Indigenous nations launched in six time capsules from Earth and Beyond.


Dr. Peralta states “ILOA's passion to expand our understanding of the cosmos through observation from our Moon has already fired the imagination of Lunar Codex artists, who've used ILO-X WFoV images of Earth, the Moon, and Odysseus, as inspiration for the creation of breathtaking new art pieces.” 

The ILO-X instruments Lunar Codex and Ka ‘Imi are part of lunar history and will remain indefinitely on the Moon surface. 

The successes from the ILO-X precursor mission, including the naming of the instruments, aid in the development of the ILOA high priority ILO-1 flagship which is planned to operate from Malapert Mountain NET 2026. 

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Positioning of ILO-X Instruments

Intuitive Machines' Odysseus lunar lander, with insets showing the the positions of the ILO-X NFOV instrument Ka ‘Imi, and the ILO-X WFOV instrument  Lunar Codex

ILO-X Ka'Imi Mission Patch

The mission patch represents the NFOV instrument, named Ka'Imi. The name was the winning submission by a student from Kealakehe Intermediate School as a part of a 2022 naming competition.  Translated from ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, Ka ʻImi means “to search.” The patch depicts the mission launch from Earth, and its origins from the islands of Hawai'i.

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ILO-X Lunar Codex Mission Patch

The patch represents the WFOV instrument, named Lunar Codex, taking images from the lunar surface, the crescent Earth and bright Sun, and two star trail images captured by the NFOV instrument, the Pleiades and Taurus. Together, the two mission patches, Ka 'Imi and Lunar Codex, depict the story of the ILO-X mission - launch, landing, and successful capture and transmission to ILOA of data in transit and from the surface of the Moon.

Landing on the Moon

Deorbit, Descent and Landing (DDL) during NASA mission CLPS-TO2-IM of the Intuitive Machines' Nova-C class lander Odysseus, composed of thumbnails taken on 22 February 2024 via the ILO-X WFOV Lunar Codex camera

Other images from the Ka 'Imi and Lunar Codex cameras can be found via the ILOA website

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