Japan Makes Lunar History with Successful Moon Landing Mission
Japan has solidified its status as a national space power with a significant achievement: its SLIM spacecraft successfully landed on the lunar surface.
The historic moment took place on Friday, marking Japan as the fifth country to achieve a lunar landing, following Russia, the US, China, and India.
Successful SLIM Mission
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) reported that the SLIM lander, launched in September, made a soft landing on the lunar surface around 10:20 a.m. ET. Despite some challenges, such as impaired solar panel capabilities upon landing, the spacecraft managed to send signals after its descent, relying on battery power.
JAXA’s president, Hiroshi Yamakawa, confirmed the success of the soft landing, emphasizing the significance of the accomplishment. “I believe this was a greater step forward,” remarked Hitoshi Kuninaka, director general of JAXA.
Named Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM), the mission is a cargo research endeavor carrying various scientific payloads, including an analysis camera and a pair of lunar rovers.
This achievement reflects Japan’s commitment to space exploration and scientific research.
Japan Achieves Lunar Landing Milestone
The lunar landing by SLIM contributes to the ongoing global efforts to explore the moon. Over 50 attempts have been made to land on the moon since the early 1960s, with varying degrees of success. Last year, India joined the list of successful moon landings with its Chandrayaan-3 mission.
While Japan celebrates its accomplishment, the space exploration landscape remains challenging. Previous attempts by Japanese company ispace and US company Astrobotic faced difficulties, highlighting the complex nature of lunar missions.
Despite setbacks, the pursuit of lunar exploration continues, with US companies Intuitive Machines and Firefly gearing up for moon landers this year, and China planning another lunar lander launch in May.
Japan’s successful lunar landing with SLIM marks a significant milestone in space exploration and adds to the growing global efforts to unlock the mysteries of the moon.