Japanese spacecraft makes near-perfect moon landing: here's the first image of the craft on the moon!
Steph Deschamps / January 29, 2024
The small Japanese SLIM spacecraft that landed on the Moon last Saturday hit the ground some 55 meters from its target - a very high degree of accuracy, announced the Japanese space agency (Jaxa) on Thursday.
The objective of landing the module within 100 meters of its target, as opposed to several kilometers for lunar missions, has thus been achieved.
On Thursday, Jaxa also released the first images of the lunar landing, which represented an unprecedented feat for Japan, which became the fifth country in the world to successfully land on the Earth's natural satellite, after the USA, the USSR, China and India.
But the Japanese feat was accompanied by a serious downside: SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) experienced a problem with its solar panels, forcing Jaxa to switch off its power supply less than three hours after landing, to save its batteries for a possible restart at a later date.
Jaxa thinks it's possible that SLIM's solar panels will work again once the angle of the sun on the lunar landing site has changed.
SLIM landed in a small crater less than 300 metres in diameter, called Shioli, and was able to unload its two mini-rovers, which were to carry out analyses of rocks from the Moon's internal structure (the lunar mantle), which is still very poorly understood.