Japan’s SLIM Moon Lander Resumes Operations After Solar Battery Glitch

Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) has successfully resumed operations after facing power issues with its solar batteries upon landing on January 20. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced the restoration of communication and power on Monday, enabling the spacecraft to conduct scientific observations.

JAXA reported on X (formerly Twitter) that they immediately initiated scientific observations using the Multiband Spectroscopic Camera (MBC) and achieved the first light for 10-band observation. An image of a rock near the lander, nicknamed “toy poodle,” was shared on X.

The successful lunar landing marked Japan as the fifth nation to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, joining the ranks of the United States, the Soviet Union, China, and India. Despite the initial setback with the solar batteries, SLIM landed precisely within 100 meters of its target, an impressive feat compared to the usual landing zone range of several kilometres.

SLIM’s mission targeted a crater where the Moon’s mantle is believed to be exposed on the surface. Two probes were successfully detached—one with a transmitter and another designed to explore the lunar surface and transmit images back to Earth. The latter, a shape-shifting mini-rover slightly larger than a tennis ball, was co-developed by a company known for Transformer toys.

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