Japan's lunar lander may not survive the lunar night

Tokyo What could be the final image from Japan's historic lunar landing mission has been released, with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) saying it does not know whether it will be able to revive the spacecraft after the lunar night.

The Lunar Exploration Intelligent Lander, or SLIM for short, landed upside down on the Moon on January 19. Due to their orientation, their solar cells are not pointed directly at the sun.

This has led to operators making limited use of the lander, and it remains unclear whether the spacecraft will withstand temperatures exceeding -200°F for longer than two weeks.

Unlike Earth, the Moon takes a full month to complete one orbit, with one side of the natural satellite experiencing lunar day and the other side experiencing lunar night.

Although the task is limited, JAXA The company described this endeavor as a success, and said it had dozens of images to analyze from a region of the moon that is not well understood.

“Based on the large amount of data we obtained, we are moving forward with analyzes to identify the rocks and estimate the chemical composition of the minerals, which will help solve the mystery of the origin of the Moon. We will announce the scientific results as soon as they are obtained,” The Japanese Space Agency said in a statement.

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The image shows that the Japanese lunar lander turned upside down but hit its target

The haunting image taken by Japan's SLIM lander on the moon's surface on February 1, 2024, may be the last we see from the rover.
(jaxa)

Image of Japanese spacecraft on the moon
(jaxa)

Mosaic image of a lunar surface survey taken by a SLIM-mounted MBC (left) and its enlarged view (right). (Credit: JAXA, Ritsumeikan University, Aizu University) The gray area to the right of the mosaic is missing data because the scanning process has stopped. (Image: JAXA)
(jaxa)

Image taken by JAXA's SLIM lunar lander immediately after landing on the Moon.
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An image from the Lev-2 lander shows the SLIM lander on its nose on the lunar surface.
(jaxa)

Image taken by JAXA's SLIM lunar lander immediately after landing on the Moon.
(jaxa)

Japan is the fifth country to land on the moon, a mission that was difficult and marked by miserable failure even by the most experienced space programs.

In January, US-based Astrobotics attempted to land its Peregrine rover on the moon. The mission ended in failure, as the special lunar lander burned up in Earth's atmosphere.

NASA's manned spacecraft known as the Artemis mission was scheduled to land on the moon in 2025, but that was recently postponed to at least 2026 or 2027 due to various development issues.

In 2023, A Japanese company known as ispace, Inc.It failed to land on the moon after an apparent error in judgement.

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See the things humans left behind on the moon

The next rover attempt could take place from the United States as early as November when NASA launches the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The rover is scheduled to investigate the moon's south pole during a 100-day mission.

The space agency said the data will be crucial in determining the distribution of water on the lunar body and help determine the resources available for future human space exploration.

The United States remains the only country to have landed humans on the moon.

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