Japan became the fifth country in the world to reach the Moon. After several maneuvers, the SLIM module of the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) managed to land on our natural satellite. After Selenite lands on the surface, scientists are waiting for confirmation that the ship is in good condition and sending correct data.
Based on telemetry, JAXA commentator said the lander has reached the surface And experts are reviewing data from the Smart Lander for Investigating the Moon (SLIM) spacecraft, which landed around 12:20 a.m. Argentine time (15:20 UTC).
down at The Moon, whose gravity is one-sixth that of the Earth, It provides a much-needed boost to Japan’s space program, which has experienced several setbacks in recent years.
This includes the failure to launch in March 2023 its flagship H3 rocket, which is the successor to the current H-2A and which seeks to compete in terms of cost with other equipment from commercial suppliers such as US SpaceX.
SLIM was not Japan’s first lunar landing attempt. Little Lander name is Omotenashi The small Japanese probe was scheduled to launch toward the moon in November 2022 as part of NASA’s unmanned Artemis 1 mission, but it failed to reach its destination. And last April, Hakuto-R spacecraftManufactured by Tokyo-based company iSpace, crashed during landing attempt Its sensors were confused by the Moon’s rugged topography.
The success of the mission turned Japan into an extremely exclusive space travel club. To date, only four countries (Soviet Union, United States, China, and India) have achieved soft landing on the Moon.
This device, which has a length of no more than 3 meters on a side and weighs between 200 and 730 kilograms, depending on moisture, is designed to significantly increase the accuracy of landing on the Moon and the size and shape of the equipment used in lunar landings. Was designed to reduce weight.
The Japanese Aerospace Agency hopes this mission will also contribute to testing Important technology for exploration in low gravity environmentsWhose refinement is necessary for future solar system research.
The probe, which was launched on September 7, 2023, will take images that will be used in the lunar exploration project ArtemisThe purpose of which is to facilitate the return of humans to the Moon and ultimately the exploration of Mars, among other tasks.
SLIM’s onboard computer is equipped with maps of craters previously recorded by NASA’s Kaguya mission and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. As SLIM descended, it took pictures of the lunar surface from onboard cameras and compared them with onboard maps to identify the spacecraft’s exact location.
The module tried to touch the lunar surface within a radius of about 100 meters from the Xioli crater.According to JAXA, close to the lunar equator, with unprecedented accuracy so far, it estimates It will take a month to confirm whether these objectives were met or not,
JAXA has managed to land instruments on asteroids twice, but the lunar landing was more complicated due to the low gravity.
Japan has long wanted to expand its role in the global space industry And for this purpose it is increasing its cooperation with the American NASA or the European Space Agency (ESA), among other institutions.