Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Japan’s Moon Mission Triumphs: SLIM Survives Third Lunar Night

Japan’s lunar lander, SLIM, marked a significant milestone by powering up after enduring its third two-week-long lunar night, demonstrating remarkable resilience against extreme cold, as announced by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Wednesday.

Japan’s ambitious lunar lander, known as the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) and nicknamed the “Moon Sniper” for its precision landing capabilities, has once again defied the odds. Originally touching down in January, SLIM positioned Japan as the fifth nation to master a soft lunar landing. However, challenges arose immediately as the unmanned lander settled at an awkward angle, misaligning its solar panels.

Against expectations, SLIM was successfully reactivated in late February following the lunar night, a period lasting approximately 14 Earth days. The lander not only survived the bone-chilling temperatures reaching as low as -130 degrees Celsius (-200 degrees Fahrenheit) but also managed to transmit new lunar images back to Earth after the subsequent night.

On Wednesday, JAXA confirmed successful communication with SLIM upon its third awakening, showcasing robust operational capabilities despite harsh conditions. The agency also shared a captivating new image of the lunar surface via X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

According to JAXA, this repeated survival underscores the lander’s durable design, although it was not specifically engineered for the intense cold of the lunar nights. JAXA plans to continue monitoring SLIM to identify which components withstand the Moon’s extreme conditions best.

The primary objective of SLIM’s mission is to investigate a section of the Moon’s mantle, accessible at the crater where it landed. This exploration could provide invaluable insights into the internal composition of the Moon, advancing our understanding of its geological history.

This coverage has been independently crafted by the dedicated team at The Pipa News, providing the latest and most accurate space exploration news. For further details, visit the official JAXA site.

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