Japan’s SLIM moon lander, part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) ambitious lunar exploration mission, has successfully powered down as it prepares to endure the lunar nighttime. Despite experiencing engine troubles that affected its landing, the lander managed to touch down on the rim of Shioli crater.
One of the challenges faced by the spacecraft was limited sunlight due to its westward-facing solar cells. However, nearly 10 days after landing, SLIM reawakened, proving the resilience of its technology. During its active phase, SLIM has been scanning the lunar surface using the Multiband Spectroscopic Camera (MBC), a device designed to study the moon’s composition. By analyzing the light signatures of reflected sunlight, MBC can identify minerals such as olivine. This crucial data will provide valuable insights into the moon’s formation and evolution.
As the lunar nighttime sets in, SLIM has entered a dormant state. However, JAXA plans to reactivate the lander once favorable lighting and temperature conditions return. This demonstrates the agency’s commitment to maximizing the scientific potential of this mission.
SLIM has already achieved several significant milestones, including a precision landing, the deployment of small rovers, and the collection of valuable scientific data. JAXA is now in the process of analyzing the information gathered, with the goal of identifying rocks and estimating the chemical composition of minerals. By understanding the origin of the moon, scientists hope to gain insights into the early stages of our solar system’s development.
While the results of these analyses are not yet available, JAXA has assured the public that they will be announced as soon as they are obtained. This is an exciting time for lunar exploration, as the valuable data collected by SLIM contributes to our understanding of the moon’s history and its connections to Earth and the wider universe.
Insider Wales Sport will continue to follow the progress of JAXA’s lunar exploration mission and provide updates on the scientific findings from SLIM’s journey.
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