Japan’s ‘Moon Sniper’ Probe Lands Successfully but Faces Power Issue

Image credit: JAXA

Japan’s lunar mission, dubbed the ‘Moon Sniper,’ makes a successful landing on the moon, encountering a power glitch.

Japan’s SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) probe successfully touched down on the lunar surface, marking a significant achievement as Japan becomes the fifth nation to achieve a soft landing on the Moon. The probe aimed to land within 330 feet (100 meters) of its target site on the rim of Shioli Crater, showcasing precise landing capabilities.

Despite the successful landing, there are concerns as SLIM’s solar panels are not generating electricity as planned. If the issue persists, the probe’s battery, capable of supporting operations for only a few hours, may lead to a cessation of communication.

SLIM, launched in September, embarked on a mission to demonstrate landing technology while also conducting scientific work. Weighing just 440 pounds (200 kilograms) without propellant, the mission cost approximately 18 billion yen ($120 million US). The probe carried a spectrometer to study Mare Nectaris, providing insights into the moon’s composition and evolution.

Additionally, SLIM deployed two tiny rovers, LEV-1 and LEV-2, designed to gather data and capture images. Initial data suggests that both rovers deployed successfully, with LEV-1 confirmed to be operational.

While SLIM faces challenges with its solar panels, its successful landing showcases Japan’s capabilities in lunar exploration and highlights the potential of small and cost-effective spacecraft for scientific endeavors. The mission team will continue to assess the situation and determine the next steps for SLIM’s mission on the lunar surface.

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