Japan’s SLIM Moon Lander Bounces Back: Resumes Scientific Mission with Exciting Discoveries
Experiencing a notable reversal of fortune, the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) from Japan has successfully restored communication and recommenced operations following a period of radio silence and an unforeseen upside-down landing. In a statement released on Sunday, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed the reactivation of the spacecraft’s Multi-Band Camera, with scientific observations already underway. This news brings a sense of relief to the space community, reigniting optimism for potential groundbreaking revelations regarding the moon’s origins.
Resurgence of SLIM
Following a temporary power loss shortly after its landing on January 20, SLIM regained power on Saturday night, rekindling the enthusiasm at JAXA. The agency expressed optimism that the sun would now provide sufficient power to the spacecraft’s built-in solar panels, enabling it to carry out its scientific mission.
Before the temporary setback, SLIM captured captivating images of the moon’s landscape and rocks. JAXA is currently in the process of analyzing these images to identify rocks of interest, each of which has been assigned a unique nickname. Notable monikers include Toy Poodle, Bulldog, St. Bernard, Akitainu, Shibainu, and Kaiken. These names will facilitate effective communication among the team regarding the rocks’ relative sizes.
In addition to capturing stunning visuals, SLIM deployed small exploratory robots on the moon’s surface to conduct scientific activities. The LEV-1 and LEV-2 robots, designed to test radio wave transmissions and perform various movements, provided valuable insights into the lunar environment.
JAXA scientists are conducting a meticulous search for evidence of materials on the moon’s surface originating from its mantle—a layer near the satellite’s core. This quest aims to deepen our understanding of the moon’s composition and geological history, potentially unraveling mysteries about its formation and evolution.
The revival of SLIM and the resumption of its scientific operations mark a significant triumph for Japan’s space exploration efforts. As the spacecraft embarks on its mission to uncover clues about the moon’s origins, the international space community eagerly anticipates the groundbreaking discoveries that may emerge from this reinvigorated lunar exploration. Stay tuned for updates as SLIM continues its journey of exploration and scientific inquiry in the vast expanse of space.