20 June 2024
Japan lander sleeps again after blip

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Japan lander sleeps again after brief awakening, will resume mission if it survives two-week lunar night, space agency says.

Japan Lander Sleeps Through Lunar Night



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Published on: January 19, 2024 Description: Japan has become the fifth country to put a spacecraft on the moon after its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (Slim) made a ...
Japan becomes fifth country to put spacecraft on moon as lander reaches lunar surface
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Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) mission has encountered a temporary setback, but the space agency remains optimistic about its resumption once the lunar night ends. After a brief awakening, SLIM powered down due to the lack of sunlight during the two-week lunar night. However, JAXA, the Japanese space agency, plans to reactivate the lander in mid-February when the sun’s rays once again reach SLIM’s solar panels.

Brief Resurgence and Lunar Observations

During its short period of activity, SLIM successfully carried out scientific observations of a crater using its high-resolution camera. The lander captured black-and-white images of the rocky surface, providing valuable data for studying the moon’s mantle, the layer beneath the crust. SLIM’s observations exceeded initial expectations, covering more target areas than anticipated.

Lunar Night and Power Conservation

The lunar night presents a unique challenge for lunar missions, as the lack of sunlight prevents solar-powered spacecraft from generating electricity. To conserve energy, SLIM entered a dormancy period during this phase. The lander’s systems will remain inactive until the sun’s return, when it will resume its mission.

Global Lunar Exploration Efforts

Japan’s SLIM mission is part of a growing trend of international interest in lunar exploration. Countries like China, Russia, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates are also pursuing lunar missions, aiming to study the moon’s surface, resources, and potential for future human habitation.

Challenges and Setbacks

Lunar exploration is not without its challenges. NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the moon, has faced delays and setbacks. Similarly, Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander encountered technical issues during its mission, resulting in fuel leakage and a likely demise upon re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.

Wrapping Up

Despite these setbacks, the global pursuit of lunar exploration continues. Japan’s SLIM mission, with its successful observations and planned resumption, exemplifies the resilience and determination of space agencies worldwide to unravel the mysteries of our celestial neighbor. As the lunar night draws to a close, the anticipation builds for SLIM’s reawakening and the continuation of its scientific endeavors on the moon..

FAQ’s

1. What is the cause of SLIM’s temporary setback?

SLIM’s temporary setback is due to the lunar night, during which the lack of sunlight prevents its solar panels from generating electricity.

2. What did SLIM accomplish during its brief period of activity?

During its short period of activity, SLIM successfully conducted scientific observations of a crater using its high-resolution camera, capturing valuable data on the moon’s mantle.

3. How long will SLIM remain dormant during the lunar night?

SLIM will remain dormant during the two-week lunar night, conserving energy until the sun’s rays reach its solar panels again.

4. What is the significance of SLIM’s mission in the context of global lunar exploration efforts?

SLIM’s mission is part of a growing trend of international interest in lunar exploration, with countries like China, Russia, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates also pursuing missions to study the moon.

5. What challenges has lunar exploration faced, and how do they impact missions like SLIM?

Lunar exploration presents challenges such as the lack of sunlight during lunar nights and technical issues that can lead to setbacks. Missions like SLIM must overcome these challenges to achieve their scientific objectives.

Links to additional Resources:

1. https://global.jaxa.jp/projects/selene/ 2. https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/main/index.html 3. https://www.planetary.org/moon-missions

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Topics: Japan lunar exploration, Lunar night, Global lunar missions

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