East Africa News Post

Complete News World

The Japanese lunar probe “recovered”: the Sun illuminated its energy panels and contact with the Earth was restored

The Japanese lunar probe “recovered”: the Sun illuminated its energy panels and contact with the Earth was restored

The Lunar Research Intelligent Lander (SLIM) is seen in this image taken by LEV-2 on the Moon, released on January 25, 2024. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Takara Tomy, Sony Group, Doshisha University / via Reuters

Japan's Roper spacecraft began operating Monday after several tense days without the sunlight it needs to generate power.

Japan's first moon mission reached its target with a precision landing on January 20, but landed in the wrong position, leaving its solar panels unable to see the sun.

But as the lunar day dawns, the probe appears to have power.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said on Monday It was able to establish contact with the probe on Sunday night The spacecraft resumed its mission to take pictures of the moon's surface and send them to Earth.

An image of lunar soil sent by an instrument on board the Japanese SLIM module. JAXA

After a last-minute engine failure caused the Intelligent Moon Research Lander, or SLIM, to make a harder landing than planned, JAXA used battery power to collect as much data as possible about the landing and the lander's surroundings. The spacecraft then stopped operating to wait for the sun to rise in the lunar sky in late January.

The agency said SLIM continued work to analyze the composition of olivine rocks on the Moon's surface using its multi-band spectroscopic camera, searching for clues about the Moon's origin and evolution. Previous observations indicate that the Moon may have formed when Earth collided with another planet.

See also  How to clear your Fire TV Stick's cache

A black-and-white photo posted by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency on social media showed the moon's rocky surface, including a rock that the agency said it named “Toy Poodle” after seeing it in initial images. The probe is analyzing six rocks, all named after dog breeds..

SLIM is expected to have enough sunlight to continue operations for several Earth days, possibly until Thursday. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said it was unclear whether the spacecraft would return to service after an extremely cold lunar night.

Daichi Hirano, Hitoshi Kuninaka, Shinichiro Sakai and Masatsugu Otsuki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), smile in front of a screen displaying an image taken by LEV-2 on the moon, after their press conference on the lunar landing site for the SLIM mission, in Tokyo, Japan, January 25, 2024. Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon/archive photo

The SLIM missile fell about 55 meters (60 yards) from its target, between two craters near Shiuli Crater, an area covered in volcanic rocks. Previous lunar missions typically targeted flat areas at least 10 kilometers (6 miles) wide.

SLIM carried two independent probes, launched just before landing, to record the landing, surroundings and other lunar data.

The landing on the moon made Japan the fifth country in the world to reach the surface of the moon, after the United States, the Soviet Union, China and India.

(With information from AP)