Japan’s Moon lander SLIM revives after two-week lunar night

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NEW DELHI: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Monday announced that its Moon lander, SLIM, has revived after a two-week lunar night. SLIM had landed on the Moon in January at an angle that caused its solar panels to face the wrong direction. However, as the angle of the Sun shifted, SLIM came back to life for two days and conducted scientific observations of a crater using its high-spec camera.
Due to its design limitations for the harsh lunar nights, JAXA was uncertain whether SLIM would wake up again. However, a command was sent to the lander, and it responded, confirming that it had successfully made it through the lunar night and maintained communication capabilities.
“Last night, a command was sent to SLIM and a response received, confirming that the spacecraft has made it through the lunar night and maintained communication capabilities!” the space agency said.
Although communication had to be terminated due to the high temperature of the communication equipment during lunar midday, preparations are underway to resume operations once the instrument temperatures have cooled down.
“Communication with SLIM was terminated after a short time, as it was still lunar midday and the temperature of the communication equipment was very high. Preparations are being made to resume operations when instrument temperatures have sufficiently cooled,” the post added.
On January 19, SLIM made a precise touchdown on the moon, making Japan the fifth country to successfully place a probe on the lunar surface. However, the lander experienced engine problems during its descent and ended up on its side, resulting in the solar panels facing west instead of upwards.
Japan, last week, achieved another milestone as it successfully launched its new flagship rocket, the H3. The H3 lifted off on February 17, releasing a small satellite as well as a microsatellite and a dummy satellite during its nearly two-hour flight. JAXA project manager Masashi Okada, who has been leading the development of the new rocket for a decade, expressed his excitement, stating, “The newborn H3 has just made its first cry.”



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