The Japanese mission that successfully landed on the moon is feared to end prematurely

A diagram of the Japanese mission to the moon / Photo courtesy JAXA
A diagram of the Japanese mission to the moon / Photo courtesy JAXA

Japan has become the 5th country to reach the moon, but the life of its mission is in jeopardy.

The mission named Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLAM) landed on the moon on January 19.

The primary objective of this mission was to demonstrate the capability of pinpoint landing within 100 meters of the selected landing site.

But despite the successful landing, the Japanese mission faces a serious problem.

After the pinpoint landing, the lander failed to generate power from the solar panels, forcing it to rely on limited battery power.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said it believed the problem with the solar panels occurred because the spacecraft was facing the wrong direction.

The Japanese agency expects the mission, consisting of a lander and two rovers sent to examine different aspects of the moon, to survive.

According to JAXA, if the lander absorbs some sunlight, then the mission can continue.

If this does not happen, then the life of the Japanese mission may end prematurely.

The Japanese agency said it was receiving signals from the lander and would collect as much data as possible.

Note that the Japanese mission was launched to the moon in September 2023.

After more than 4 months, the Japanese mission succeeded in pinpoint landing on the moon.

This is slightly different from the soft landing technique of the Chandrayaan 3 mission.

Earlier, the missions of America, Russia, China and India have successfully landed on the surface of the moon.

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