Japan JAXA Says Successfully Put Lunar Lander into the Moon’s Orbit

Tue Dec 26 2023
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TOKYO: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Monday said that it has successfully put into the moon’s orbit a lunar lander launched by an H-2A rocket in September this year.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed the engine operation that placed SLIM into an elliptical moon orbit, with a scheduled lunar surface landing on January 20 next year. SLIM, a compact probe designed for precise landings, aims to advance technology for accurate landings within 100 meters of intended targets. JAXA envisions SLIM contributing to unraveling the moon’s origins by analyzing rocks from its mantle upon a successful landing.

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The 2.4-meter-high, approximately 200 kg SLIM is a pioneering effort to enhance pinpoint landing capabilities compared to conventional landers. Operating at an altitude of 600 to 4,000 km, SLIM’s success could revolutionize lunar exploration accuracy. Despite past challenges, including the loss of contact with the Omotenashi lander in November 2022 and the Hakuto-R lander crash in April, Japan’s commitment to lunar exploration persists. The mission not only exemplifies Japan’s technological prowess but also contributes to global efforts to unravel the mysteries of celestial bodies.

The upcoming lunar landing, if successful, promises valuable insights into the moon’s composition. JAXA’s determination to overcome setbacks and pursue lunar exploration aligns with the broader scientific community’s quest for understanding planetary evolution. Japan’s consistent efforts in space exploration reinforce its status as a key player in advancing space science and technology. The successful completion of the SLIM mission would not only mark a historic achievement for Japan but also propel lunar exploration into a new era of precision and scientific discovery.

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