Title: Japanese Spacecraft ‘SLIM’ Successfully Enters Lunar Orbit, Prepares for Historic Lunar Touchdown
Date: December 25, 2022
On Christmas Day, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced the successful entry of their spacecraft SLIM into lunar orbit, marking a significant milestone in Japan’s space exploration efforts. SLIM, short for Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, is now on track to attempt a lunar touchdown on January 19.
What makes this mission particularly remarkable is SLIM’s objective to achieve a pinpoint landing on the moon with an incredible accuracy of 330 feet or less. If successful, this would be a historic achievement, showcasing Japan’s advanced technology and paving the way for future lunar probes and exploration efforts in resource-scarce environments.
One of the primary aims of the SLIM mission is to research pinpoint landing technology. By studying and perfecting this technology, JAXA hopes to overcome the challenges of landing on distant celestial bodies, such as the moon, with limited resources. The data and knowledge gathered from SLIM’s mission will undoubtedly be invaluable for future space explorations.
In addition to its landing objective, SLIM’s mission also includes deploying two miniprobes onto the lunar surface. These miniprobes will provide crucial support and act as communication channels, enhancing the overall capabilities of the mission.
It is worth noting that SLIM is not the first Japanese spacecraft to reach lunar orbit. Previous missions, including Hiten in 1990 and SELENE (Kaguya) in 2007, have also made significant contributions to our understanding of the moon. Nevertheless, the spotlight is now on SLIM as it aims to achieve what no other spacecraft has done before.
Japan’s ambitious lunar exploration efforts have faced some hurdles in the past. Earlier this year, another Japanese lander named Hakuto-R arrived in lunar orbit but unfortunately crashed during its attempted landing due to sensor confusion. Despite this setback, JAXA remains determined to push the boundaries of space exploration and learn from each mission’s successes and challenges.
As we eagerly await SLIM’s historic lunar touchdown attempt, the world watches in anticipation. If successful, SLIM will not only secure Japan’s position as a leading space-exploring nation but will also contribute immensely to our understanding of the moon and its potential as a resource-rich environment.
Stay tuned for updates on SLIM’s progress as it inches closer to its historic landing on the lunar surface.