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  • Darshan Pareek

Japan makes history with SLIM Moon landing



Japan made history on Friday as its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) successfully landed on the lunar surface, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.


According to JAXA's telemetry reading, the SLIM lander, part of a cargo research mission, touched down on the lunar surface at approximately 10:20 am ET.


The SLIM mission, launched in September, is aimed at advancing technology for precise lunar landings, moving away from the traditional approach of landing in easier spots.


The achievement positions Japan as the fifth country in the world to successfully land a spacecraft on the moon, joining the ranks of Russia (then Soviet Union), the United States, China, and India.


JAXA officials emphasised that SLIM's capabilities represent a significant shift from "landing where we can" to "land where we want," crucial for future moon missions. The successful landing opens up the possibility of exploring planets with fewer resources than the moon, marking a qualitative leap in space exploration technology.


Though successful, SLIM solar panels malfunctioned upon landing, forcing the lander to now solely rely on batteries.


The SLIM lander, weighing 700 kg at launch, is equipped with various scientific payloads, including an analysis camera and two lunar rovers. Its precise landing is expected to play a vital role in endeavours like searching for water on challenging lunar surfaces, including slopes.


SLIM is slated deploy two mini-probes to capture images, monitor SLIM's condition, and serve as an independent communication system for direct communication with Earth.


Last year, the Japanese company ispace faced a setback in its attempt to land on the moon as its spacecraft crashed in the final moments of the mission.


Despite the unsuccessful landing, this marked ispace's first venture into lunar exploration. India recently made history with its Chandrayaan-3 mission, successfully landing near the lunar south pole.

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