- Japan’s JAXA SLIM spacecraft successfully landed on the surface of the Moon on Friday morning.
- Japan joins Russia, the United States, China and India in reaching the lunar surface.
- The JAXA president confirmed that SLIM successfully established signals after landing, but the solar power capacity failed.
Japan on Friday achieved a major milestone in space exploration with the successful landing of the SLIM (Smart Lander for Lunar Exploration) spacecraft on the lunar surface, marking the country’s ambition to become a national space power.
According to telemetry readings of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the SLIM lander, launched in September, made a soft landing at approximately 10:20. While JAXA’s President Hiroshi Yamakawa confirmed the success of the landing, it was stated that the solar panel capacity was affected during the landing and therefore the spacecraft became dependent on battery power.
This success made Japan; Russia becomes the fifth country to set foot on the Moon, joining the ranks of the United States, China and India. SLIM is a cargo research mission equipped with scientific payloads including an analysis camera and lunar rovers.
Despite historical difficulties in lunar exploration since the 1960s, Japan’s success is considered a significant step forward in space exploration.
Last year, Japanese company ispace made its first attempt to land on the Moon, but the spacecraft crashed in the last moments. Earlier this month, US company Astrobotic carried out its first Moon mission from the ground but ran into problems shortly after launch. The flight was aborted and no attempt was made to land on the Moon.
More initiatives are on the way, with US companies Intuitive Machines and Firefly preparing to fly a lunar lander this year, while China plans to launch another lunar lander in May.
Compiled by: Eliz Canyurt