Japan’s ‘Moon Sniper’ historic moon landing

Japan became the fifth nation to achieve a “soft landing” on the Moon. The SLIM probe successfully touched down Moon.

The other nations in the moon-landing club are the Soviet Union and the United States, which made their first trips to the lunar surface during the Cold War space race; China, whose initial landing occurred in December 2013, and India, whose Chandrayaan-3 lander-rover duo touched down August 2023.

It was confirmed by JAXA that the SLIM “landed on the Moon at (Japan time) 00:20 am on 20 January 2024. JAXA said Communication has been established since landing. “However, the solar cells are not generating power and the SLIM is operated with on-board batteries. The data acquired on landing is stored in the spacecraft, and we are currently working to maximize the scientific results by first transmitting this data back to Earth.

The battery of the landers is expected to drain within an hour, but it may be possible to generate electricity onboard if the sun’s movement in the coming weeks casts light on the solar cells. JAXA believes Slim achieved a soft landing, but it is expected to take a month or so to confirm whether the lander touched down within 100 meters of its target site near the Shioli crater, a major goal for the mission.

JAXA officials said It’s unclear why the solar cells aren’t working. But it’s unlikely they were damaged during the touchdown because SLIM’s other hardware appears to be fine and functional. It’s possible that the lander isn’t oriented toward the sun as expected.

Daniel Robert
Daniel Robert
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