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The first picture of the Japanese SLIM probe after arriving at the moon and the technical problems

The first picture of the Japanese SLIM probe after arriving at the moon and the technical problems

SLIM in an image taken by the LEV-2 spacecraft on the moon (JAXA/Reuters)

the Japan Space Agency (JAXAThis Thursday, he published the first images from the surface of the moon for his probe Moderate buildwhich The spacecraft carried out the most accurate space landing to date on Saturday After it was able to land about 55 meters from its target.

Pictures were taken by Lev-2It is a probe designed to roll on the surface of the Moon and send images to Earth. This tiny space exploration vehicle, shape-shifting and about the size of a tennis ball, was developed by the company that made the toys. adapter. the other probe, LEV-1Count by one Transmitter. Both have been successfully disconnected from the unit yet The moon landing took place on Saturday, That turned Japan The fifth country in the world to achieve this achievement.

A model of the Lunar Expedition Vehicle 2 (LEV-2) that took a SLIM image (Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon)

In the images published by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the SLIM module appears intact on the rocky surface of the Earth satellite.

The mission management was able to download technical data and images of the landing and the lunar surface Before stopping the ship. The truth is that the device was able to establish contact with the Earth after landing on the moon, but it was so It is unable to generate power from its solar cells “Because the behavior during the landing was not as planned.” Its panels were wrongly oriented to the west.

View photos this Thursday (EFE/EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON)

In order to recover if sunlight conditions are favourable, SLIM was shut down at 2:57 local time on the same day with Sufficient battery percentage for reactivation. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency indicated in this sense that if sunlight reaches the solar cells surrounding the Earth February 1coinciding with the next sunset on the moon, there Possibility of restoring power and operating the probe again.

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he Moderate build (English abbreviation for Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or Intelligent lander to explore the moon) landed on Earth's natural satellite at 00:20 local time on the 20th, after 20 minute bumpy descent In which it lost one of its engines, as the Director General of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency explained today, Thursday, in a press conference, Hitoshi Kuninaka.

A scale model of the Lunar Exploration Intelligent Lander (SLIM) at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency facilities (Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon)

The main goal of SLIM was to create… Determine landingor precision/translated, in a Its radius is 100 metres About the Sheuli nozzleClose to the lunar equator, a precision so far unprecedented. The conventional landing distance on the Moon's surface is currently several kilometers.

Despite having a problem with one of its engines, SLIM “came through The ground is about 55 meters from the target“So we consider it a success, because our goal was to do it within a 100-metre radius,” he added. Koninaka.

He added that if one of the engine control units had not been lost, SLIM could have made a more precise landing, i.e. landing within a radius of about 10 meters of the target, “maybe between 3 and 4 metres.” .project manager, Shinichiro SakaiAccording to the positional accuracy of the probe before starting the landing process.

Shinichiro Sakai, SLIM project manager at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), poses with a scale model of the device. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon)

After losing about half its power due to an engine problem, the software installed on the probe “independently identified the anomaly and continued the descent with the other engine.” Control the gradual movement of the SLIM so that its horizontal position moves as little as possible“According to the report.

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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is currently analyzing the causes of the engine loss, which it believes was caused by an external factor.

SLIM has installed some Navigation cameras They said that the moon's craters were identified through comparisons between images taken by the device and lunar maps it carried, made from previous global lunar missions, and that its obstacle detection functions worked well.

Navigational cameras were installed on the SLIM device to identify moon craters by comparing images taken by the device and maps.

The Japanese space agency has placed its ship In a hole where Moon cloakThe inner layer is usually very deep, Accessible from the roof. The Japanese space agency wants Rock analysis area to try to shed light on the mystery Follower The possibility of the presence of water On the moon, which is a major factor in the end Building human foundations there. Another secondary mission of SLIM was to capture images for use in… Moon exploration project NASA Artemis. Analyzes have been affected by power problems with the probe, but can be resumed if it is powered on again.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency wants to analyze rocks found in the area to try to shed light on the mystery of the possibility of water on the moon

SLIM is one of several recent lunar missions undertaken by governments and private companies. 50 years after the first human landing on the moon.

But technical problems abound, and the United States faced two setbacks this month in its ambitious lunar programs.

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two Previous Japanese lunar missionsOne public and one private as well They failed.

In 2022, the country unsuccessfully sent a lunar probe Omotenashi As part of the US Artemis 1 mission.

Last April, the Japanese start-up company, iSpace, tried unsuccessfully to become the first private company to land on the moon, and lost contact with its spacecraft after what it described as a “crash landing.”

(With information from EFE and AFP)