The first photo of the Japanese SLIM probe on the Moon after its arrival and technical problems

SLIM in an image taken by the LEV-2 rover on the Moon (JAXA/Reuters)

Japanese Aerospace Agency ,jaxa) published this Thursday the first images from the lunar surface of its probe slimHe made the most precise space landing ever on Saturday After succeeding in landing about 55 meters from its target.

The photos were taken by Lev-2, a probe designed to roam the surface of the Moon and transmit images back to Earth. This mini-space exploration vehicle, with changing shape and the size of a tennis ball, was co-developed by the toy company. Transformer, other investigations, Lev-1count from one transmitter, After this both were successfully separated from the module. Moon landing was carried out on Saturday, he changed Japan It is the fifth country in the world to achieve this feat.

A model of the Lunar Excursion Vehicle 2 (LEV-2) that took the slim photo (Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon)

In images published by JAXA, the SLIM module appears intact on the Earth satellite’s rocky surface.

Mission Control was able to download technical data and images of the landing and lunar surface. before closing the ship, The thing is that the apparatus managed to establish communication with the Earth after landing on the Moon, but it happened Unable to generate energy from its solar cells “Because the behavior during landing was not according to plan.” Its panels were incorrectly oriented towards the west.,

Presentation of photographs this Thursday (EFE/EPA/Frank Robichon)

SLIM was shut down at 2:57 pm local time the same day, with a view to recovery if sunlight conditions were favorable. Sufficient battery percentage to reactivate. JAXA explained that if sunlight reaches nearby solar cells 1 FebruaryCoinciding with the next sunset on the Moon, there is Possibility of power being restored and investigation resuming.

He slim (abbreviation in English for Smart Lander for Moon Investigation, or Intelligent lander will investigate the moon) landed on Earth’s natural satellite at 00:20 local time on the 20th. 20 minutes of rough descent In which it lost one of its two engines, JAXA’s director general told a press conference on Thursday, Hitoshi Kuninaka.

A miniature model of the Smart Lander for Moon Investigation (SLIM) at the facilities of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon)

The main objective of SLIM was to create pinpoint landingor precision/localized, in one 100 meter range around Xioli Crater, close to the lunar equator, unprecedented accuracy so far. Conventional moon landings currently have a time lag of several kilometers.

Despite a problem with one of its engines, the SLIM arrived Land approximately 55 meters from the target“So we consider it a success, because our goal was to do it within a radius of 100 meters,” he said. Kuninaka,

If it had not lost one of its motor control units, SLIM could have made a more precise landing, i.e. landing within about 10 meters of the target, “probably between 3 and 4 meters,” he said. .project manager, shinichiro sakaiAccording to the positional accuracy of the probe before starting the descent operation.

Shinichiro Sakai, SLIM project manager at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), poses with a miniature model of the device. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon)

After losing about half its power due to an engine problem, the software installed on the probe “automatically determined the anomaly and continued to descend with the other engine, Controlling the gradual movement of the SLIM so that its horizontal position moves as little as possible“according to the report.

JAXA is currently analyzing the cause of the engine loss, which they believe was caused by an external factor.

SLIM had established some navigation cameras He said lunar craters are identified through comparisons between images taken by the device and lunar maps created from previous global lunar missions, and that its obstacle detection functions worked well.

Navigation cameras were installed in SLIM that identify lunar craters through comparisons between images taken by the device and maps.

Japanese space agency placed its ship in a pit where moon coverThe inner layer is usually very deep, accessible from surface, JAXA wants analyze rocks Try to shed light on the mystery of the area of Possible presence of water On the Moon, ultimately an important factor building a humanitarian foundation there. Another secondary mission of SLIM was to take images for use in lunar exploration project NASA’s Artemis. The analysis has been affected by power problems with the probe, but can be resumed if it restarts.

JAXA wants to analyze rocks in the area to try to shed light on the mystery of the possible presence of water on the Moon

SLIM is one of several recent lunar missions undertaken by governments and private companies, 50 years after the first human moon landing,

But technical problems abound and the United States suffered two setbacks in its ambitious lunar programs this month.

Two Previous Japanese lunar missionsone public and one private they failed,

In 2022, the country unsuccessfully called for a lunar probe Omotenashi United States as part of the Artemis 1 mission.

In April, Japanese startup iSpace tried in vain to become the first private company to land on the moon, losing contact with its spacecraft after what was described as a “crash landing.”

(With information from EFE and AFP)

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