The Japanese Space Agency (Jaxa) released the first images from its probe's lunar surface this Thursday SLIMThat Saturday carried out the most precise space landing to date It managed to land 55 meters from its target.
Pictures taken LEV-2, a probe designed to roll over the surface of the Moon and send images back to Earth. This mini-space exploration vehicle, dynamically shaped and the size of a tennis ball, was co-developed by the toy maker. Transformer. Another study, The LEV-1Count with one transmitter. Both were then successfully separated from the block The moon landing took place on Saturday, He returned that Japan It is the fifth country in the world to achieve this feat.
Images released by JAXA show the SLIM module intact on the Earth satellite's rocky surface.
Mission control was able to download technical data and descent and images of the lunar surface Before turning off the ship. The point is that the device was able to communicate with Earth after landing on the moon, but it was It cannot generate power from its solar cells “Because the behavior on landing was not as planned.” Its panels were wrongly oriented towards the west.
SLIM was switched off at 2:57 local time the same day, with the intention of recovering if solar conditions were favorable. Sufficient battery percentage to restart. In this sense JAXA pointed out that if the sunlight comes around the solar cells February 1Coincides with the next sunset on the moon Power is restored and the probe is likely to be operational again.
He SLIM (in English Smart Lander in Investigating Moon, or Intelligent lander to explore the moon) landed on Earth's natural satellite at 00:20 local time on the 20th. 20 minutes of rough descent lost one of its two engines, JAXA's general director explained at a press conference this Thursday, Hitoshi Kuninaga.
was the main objective of SLIM Precision landingor precision/locality, a 100 meters radius around Shioli crater, near the lunar equator, with unprecedented precision. Conventional lunar landings currently have distances of several kilometers.
Despite a problem with one of its engines, SLIM “arrived Lands 55 meters from the target“We consider it a success because our target was to do it in a 100m radius,” he said. Kuninaka.
Had it not lost one of its motor control units, the SLIM could have made a more precise landing, meaning it landed within a radius of about 10 meters from the target, “perhaps between 3 and 4 meters”. Project Manager, Shinichiro SakaiAccording to the position accuracy of the probe before starting the descent operation.
After losing half of its power due to an engine problem, software installed in the study “autonomously determined the anomaly and continued the descent with the other engine, Controls the gradual movement of the SLIM so that its horizontal position moves as little as possible” according to the report.
JAXA is currently analyzing the cause of the engine loss, which they believe was caused by an external factor.
SLIM had installed some Navigation cameras They said the moon's craters could be identified through comparisons between the images taken by the device and the lunar maps it carries, produced from previous global lunar missions and its obstacle detection functions.
The Japanese space agency placed its ship Where in a ditch Mantle of the MoonThe inner layer is usually very deep, Accessible from the surface. JAXA likes it Analyze the rocks A piece that tries to shed light on the mystery of Potential water availability On the moon, a key factor in the end Building human foundations there. Another secondary task of SLIM is to take the images to be used in it Lunar Exploration Program NASA's Artemis. Analyzes have been affected by power issues with the probe, but can resume if it is operational again.
SLIM is one of several recent lunar missions undertaken by governments and private companies. 50 years after the first man landed on the moon.
But technical problems abound and the US faced two setbacks this month in its ambitious lunar plans.
Two Previous Japanese lunar missionsOne public and one private too They failed.
In 2022, the country successfully sent a lunar probe Omodenashi As part of the United States Artemis 1 mission.
In April, Japanese startup ISpace attempted to become the first private company to land on the moon, losing contact with its spacecraft after what it described as a “crash landing.”
(With information from EFE and AFP)