Ibadan, 30 January, 2024. – The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced that it has re-established contact with its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) spacecraft lander after it powered back on. The lander could not generate power upon landing on the lunar surface, quickly exhausting its battery power, and the Agency noted that its chances of recovering SLIM would increase as the sunlight illumination condition improves with time.
JAXA used the mission to demonstrate its precision landing technology, which the JAXA’s President, Hiroshi Yamakawa, said would be a crucial technology for a sustainable, long-term and accurate space probe system. After taking about a week to analyse the results from the landing, JAXA confirmed that SLIM had reached the Moon’s surface approximately 55 meters east of the original target landing site, successfully demonstrating the technology.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft passed over the landing site and photographed SLIM, displaying an image pair of the area surrounding the SLIM site before and after the spacecraft’s 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. Now, JAXA will begin preparations to use the spacecraft to conduct 10-band high-resolution spectroscopic observations with its onboard Multi-Band Camera (MBC).
JAXA launched the Smart Lander together with the X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) onboard the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 47 (H-IIA F47) on September 7, 2023, from the Tanegashima Space Center. It will now help the Agency in analyzing the composition of rocks in its search for clues about the origin of the moon.