Japan became the fifth country to make a soft landing on the Moon, after the Soviet Union, the United States, China and India. But things didn’t go as expected by the Japanese space agency JAXA: Lunar module SLIM landed upside down. And in this awkward position started conducting experiments.
It was an eventful lunar visit, but Japan managed to test its sniper landing technology with “relative” success: it landed on the moon just 55 meters from its target. Other modules often land several kilometers away. The only thing is… who did it with their head first:
If you’re wondering who took this photo, the lander is equipped with a pair of rolling robots that were able to detach, anchor on the ground, and take the historic photo: Japan, moon landing backwards.
SLIM module refuses to die
Apart from the awkward position, the big problem with this struggling Japanese ship is that since it is facing up, I can’t deploy solar panels. Therefore, it cannot charge normally.
Scientists were confident that when the Moon was correctly aligned with the Sun, light would hit the undeployed panels to recharge the rover a little. And so it was. After 10 days with discharged batteries, SLIM managed to recharge itself enough to return to “life”.
And so, belly up, he began his work: photograph the lunar soil and analyze the rocks:
The photos turn out crooked due to the tilt of the camera, but they are quite true to reality.
Unfortunately, due to my position, rover and camera cannot moveso these are the only photos you can take…
And now he faces a huge problem for which he is not ready: Moonlight night. The landing site, Scioli Crater, will spend 14.5 days in complete darkness. temperatures will drop to 130 degrees below zero.. Without battery power to ensure self-heating, the SLIM module is unlikely to survive.
Despite this, Japanese scientists from JAXA do not lose hope. If the SLIM module survived a belly-up landing, who knows if it would survive two weeks at 130 degrees below zero… When the moonlit night ends, they will try to connect again.. Good luck!