Japan becomes the fifth country to complete successful lunar mission

Japan becomes the fifth country to complete successful lunar mission

SLIM successfully touched down on the moon at approximately 12:20 am Tokyo time on Saturday
Japan becomes the fifth country to complete successful lunar mission

Web Desk

|

20 Jan 2024

Japan achieved the milestone of becoming the fifth country to reach the moon when its spacecraft without astronauts successfully made a soft landing on the lunar surface early Saturday.

This places Japan alongside Russia (then the Soviet Union), the US, China, and India in the list of countries with successful moon landings.

The Japanese mission, known as SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon), is a research expedition focused on cargo. 

Equipped with various scientific payloads, including an analysis camera and a duo of lunar rovers, SLIM helps in the expiration and study of the lunar environment.

SLIM successfully touched down on the moon at approximately 12:20 am Tokyo time on Saturday.

Hitoshi Kuninaka, the director-general of JAXA's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, expressed confidence during a press conference that the spacecraft landed within 100 meters of the designated target site. 

However, space officials noted the need for additional time to assess whether SLIM accomplished its primary mission of achieving “a precise landing.”

Moreover, they highlighted that the craft's solar panel failed to generate power, potentially impacting its lifespan on the lunar surface.

This leaves SLIM completely dependent on its batteries, which will eventually exhaust. Once discharged, the spacecraft will become silent, incapable of receiving commands or communicating with Earth.

Engineers are currently prioritising tasks, including deactivating heaters and downloading images from the craft. They are also retrieving data to assess the effectiveness of the landing software.

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