The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), on 29 January, announced that communication with the unmanned spacecraft “SLIM,” which landed on the lunar surface and obtained fresh images of the moon’s surface, has been restored. The spacecraft could not produce electricity from its onboard solar panels following touchdown; efforts to restore them are ongoing. However, JAXA intends to stay engaged in exploring the moon’s origin by utilising specialised cameras to capture lunar surface images.
Subsequent data analysis reveals that Japan’s unmanned probe “SLIM,” which made history as the fifth nation to accomplish this feat on the lunar surface early on the 20th of this month, accomplished the first “pinpoint landing” within 100 metres of the landing target point.
However, shortly before touchdown, one of the two primary engines encountered an anomaly that caused the probe to land in an unexpected position on the lunar surface. Consequently, the solar panels installed on the probe could not receive sunlight, rendering power generation unattainable.
Consequently, JAXA implemented a temporary power shutdown of the probe and has been persistently working towards its recovery, bearing in mind the potential for an automatic resumption of operations once solar panels receive sunlight and power is reinstated. Resuming operations on the 29th morning, JAXA effectively restored communication between the probe and the ground.
Scientific observations have begun, it has been announced, and images of rocks on the lunar surface captured by specialised cameras aboard the spacecraft have been made public.
“Toy Poodle,” one of the six pebbles that were previously chosen as observation targets based on the image data acquired thus far, is depicted in these images.
JAXA plans to continue such investigations on the lunar surface in the future.
Such lunar surface investigations are what JAXA intends to continue in the future.
JAXA published this image on its official Twitter account after restoring communication with SLIM. It depicts the lunar surface of a rocky terrain, capturing the boulders’ rugged texture. The image depicted herein is one of the six boulders previously chosen as observation targets based on the acquired image data. Once power was restored, a specialised camera aboard SLIM captured the image.
To facilitate visualisation of their relative sizes, JAXA has assigned dog breed-derived nicknames, such as “Saint Bernard” and “Akita Inu,” to each of the boulders under observation. The uploaded image corresponds to the “Toy Poodle” rock.