Japanese probe on the Moon “revived”: the Sun illuminated its energy panels and communication with Earth was reestablished

The Intelligent Moon Research Lander (SLIM) is seen in this image taken by LEV-2 on the Moon, released January 25, 2024. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), TAKARA TOMY, Sony Group, Doshisha University/via Reuters

Japan’s lunar rover Robert left on Monday after several stressful days without the sunlight it needs to generate electricity.

Japan’s first lunar mission reached its target in a perfect landing on January 20, but landed in the wrong position, leaving its solar panels unable to see the Sun.

But with the dawn of the lunar day, the investigation appears to have regained strength.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said this on Monday Managed to establish communication with the investigation on Sunday night And the spacecraft resumed its mission, taking pictures of the moon’s surface and sending them to Earth.

Image of lunar soil sent by an instrument mounted on the Japanese SLIM module. jaxa

After a last-minute engine failure caused the Intelligent Moon Research Lander, or SLIM, to make a harder landing than planned, JAXA used battery power to collect as much data as possible about the landing and the probe’s surroundings. The spacecraft stopped to wait for the Sun to be high in the moon’s sky in late January.

Energetically, SLIM is continuing work with its multiband spectral camera to analyze the composition of olivine rocks on the lunar surface, searching for clues to the moon’s origin and evolution, the agency said. Previous observations suggest that the Moon may have formed when Earth collided with another planet.

A black-and-white photo posted on social media by JAXA shows the moon’s rocky surface, including a rock the agency said it had named a “toy poodle” after seeing it in initial images . The investigation is analyzing six rocks, all of which are named after dog breeds.,

SLIM is expected to receive enough sunlight to continue operating for several Earth days, possibly until Thursday. JAXA said it was unclear whether the spacecraft would return to service after another extremely cold lunar night.

Daichi Hirano, Hitoshi Kuninaka, Shinichiro Sakai and Masatsugu Otsuki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), smiling in front of a screen showing an image taken by LEV-2 on the Moon, after their press conference about the mission’s slim Moon landing site , in Tokyo, Japan, January 25, 2024. Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon/file photo

The SLIM landed about 55 meters (60 yards) short of its target., an area covered with volcanic rock, between two craters near Shioli Crater. Previous lunar missions typically targeted flat areas at least 10 kilometers (6 mi) wide.

SLIM carried two autonomous probes, which were launched just before landing, recording landing, ambient, and other lunar data.

The Moon landing made Japan the fifth country in the world to reach the lunar surface, after the United States, the Soviet Union, China and India.

(With information from AP)

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