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JAXA Confirms Successful Precision Landing for SLIM

Image of the lunar surface captured by the SLIM after landing. Credit: JAXA

Ibadan, 26 January 2024. – The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has confirmed the successful precision soft-landing of its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) spacecraft on the moon. One of SLIM’s missions was the demonstration of its new precision technology by landing in an unprecedented 100-meter landing area. However, because SLIM’s solar cells failed to generate power for the spacecraft, it had to shut down its operations.

The space agency stated that an analysis of the data it received before the Spacecraft shut down power confirmed that SLIM had reached the Moon’s surface approximately 55 meters east of the original target landing site. Accordingly, JAXA evaluated SLIM’s positional accuracy before it began the obstacle avoidance maneuver (at around a 50m altitude), at approximately 10m or less, possibly about 3 – 4m. As a result, JAXA declared SLIM’s mission as successful.

In addition to the successful precision landing, SLIM was also able to deploy its Lunar Excursion Vehicles LEV-1 and 2 on the lunar surface. LEV-1 successfully conducted activities on the lunar surface and sent back telemetry data. It also engaged in direct communications with ground stations, including inter-robot test radio wave data transmission from the Transformable Lunar Robot. However, LEV-1 is now in a standby state on the lunar surface, having depleted its designated power and may resume activity depending on solar power generation from changes in the direction of the sun.

JAXA has also pointed out that analysis of the data it received has shown that SLIM’s solar cells are currently facing west, suggesting that there is the possibility for power generation. As a result, the Agency believes its chances of recovering SLIM will increase as the sunlight illumination condition improves with time.

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