Web Stories Friday, February 23

SLIM is one of several new lunar missions launched by governments and private firms, 50 years after the first human Moon landing.

Crash landings and communication failures are rife, and only four other countries have made it to the Moon: the United States, the Soviet Union, China and most recently India.

JAXA said it had disconnected SLIM’s battery just before 3am when it had 12 per cent power remaining, “in order to avoid a situation where the restart (of the lander) would be hampered”.

PROBES DETACHED

The agency is now carrying out a detailed analysis of the data, to help determine whether the craft achieved the goal of arriving within 100m of its intended landing spot.

The mission was aiming for a crater where the Moon’s mantle, the usually deep inner layer beneath its crust, is believed to be exposed on the surface.

By analysing the rocks there, JAXA had hoped to shed light on the mystery of the Moon’s possible water resources – key to building bases there one day as possible stopovers on the way to Mars.

Two probes detached successfully, one with a transmitter and another designed to trundle around the lunar surface beaming images to Earth.

This shape-shifting mini-rover, slightly bigger than a tennis ball, was co-developed by the firm behind the Transformer toys.

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