Why did the Japanese probe that reached the Moon land on its nose?

A newly released photo shows SLIM landing “on its nose” or on its head. An image of the SLIM robotic vehicle on the surface of the Moon, taken by the LEV-2 lunar exploration vehicle. (JAXA/Takara Tomi/Sony Group Corporation/Doshisha University via AP)

THIN spaceship What did you do last week’s story when landing on the moon and thus making the Japanese nation the fifth country to land on the moon, they are having some trouble with it, as has been revealed in the last few hours.

Tiny all-terrain vehicle LEV-2, One of the SLIM satellites that separated from its “mother ship” to roll across the surface of selenite captured a historic photo of what the landing was like.

The photo, which the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) released Wednesday evening, was taken by a spherical robot called LEV-2 (Lunar Exploration Vehicle-2), also known as SORA-Q, one of two small rovers. who flew to the Moon aboard SLIM.

Model of Lunar Excursion Vehicle 2 (LEV-2) from which the SLIM photo was taken (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Recently published photo, indicates that the SLIM landed “on the nose” or on the head, something unforeseen by Japanese technical experts who stated that this was an undesirable orientation. That’s why, the lander failed to catch sunlight as expected and therefore it was unable to charge its batteries and operate correctly.

The SLIM spacecraft landed on the Moon on January 19, making Japan the fifth country to soft-land on the Moon. This verification was made based on a historical photograph taken by LEV-2 or SORA-Q. “With this, SORA-Q became the first Japanese robot to land on the moon and take photographs.said Kintaro Toyama, president and representative director of Japanese toy company Takara Tomy, which developed the LEV-2 in collaboration with JAXA, Sony and Doshisha University.

“This success is down to everyone involved and everyone who supported us as we pursued our dreams together. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Toyama added.

Shinichiro Sakai, director of the SLIM project, poses for a photo with a miniature model of the space probe (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

SLIM (short for Smart Lander for Lunar Exploration) is a demonstrator spacecraft designed to demonstrate the technologies needed for ultra-precise landings on planets. It was launched in September last year, together with the X-ray space telescope XRISM, which was installed in low Earth orbit.

SLIM reached lunar orbit on Christmas Day and then made its historic descent to the lunar surface on January 19. However, Things didn’t go as planned that day. SLIM managers were unable to confirm its status immediately after landing and ultimately determined that its solar panels were not generating electricity.

But the fact that the photograph reached Mission Control shows that Its sister ships LEV-2 and LEV-1 have been deployed. from SLIM during its planned descent and successfully operated on the lunar surface.

Japan becomes the fifth country to land on the moon (JAXA)

“This image was transmitted to Earth via LEV-1, and the communication function between LEV-1 and LEV-2 was confirmed to be operating normally,” JAXA officials wrote in the same statement.

“Moreover, since LEV-2 went from a spherical state to a stored state, “We were also able to confirm that it was successfully deployed and launched onto the lunar surface after exiting SLIM,” they added. (LEV-2, about the size of a tennis ball, was designed to turn from a spherical shape into two halves and then roll around the Moon.)

JAXA said Monday that SLIM remains alive, albeit silent, on the lunar surface and its managers are preparing for the lander’s eventual return.. The mission team still has some hope for reviving SLIM.At least until Feb. 1, when the sun sets over the probe’s landing site, according to Dawun Jung, a lunar mission engineer at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute.

Japanese lunar lander SLIM arrived on the Moon on January 19 (JAXA)

Data obtained by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa). show that it landed 55 meters from the target point, between two craters in a region covered with volcanic rocks.

Japanese officials said the landing was carried out with unprecedented precision. Most previous probes have targeted much wider landing zones, up to 10 kilometers wide, reflecting the many challenges posed by landing on the Moon 54 years after humans first set foot on the lunar surface.

Jaxa said that The probe would likely have been three or four meters from its intended landing site if one of its main engines had not lost thrust. during the final phase of the mission, resulting in a harder landing than expected.

“We have shown that you can land where you want, not where you can,” Jaxa project director Shinichiro Sakai told reporters. “We are opening the door to a new era.”

Hitoshi Kuninaka, CEO of the Institute of Space and Astronautics, poses with Shinichiro Sakai, manager of SLIM, during a press conference at JAXA (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

He said the images sent were exactly what he had imagined. “Something we developed went to the moon and took this picture. “I almost fell when I saw it,” he said, adding that Slim’s precise landing deserved “top marks.”

Space officials describe the mission as a success, although the probe, nicknamed the “lunar sniper,” appears to have crashed onto the side of the crater, causing its solar panels to point in the wrong direction and fail to generate electricity.

Despite SLIM’s problems, Japan hopes the mission will boost its space program after a series of failures. A spacecraft designed by a Japanese company crashed during a lunar landing attempt in April, and the new flagship rocket failed on its debut launch in March.

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