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Japan’s Lunar Craft Lands Successfully - Infographics

Japan has become the fifth country to put a spacecraft on the lunar surface, but the “Moon Sniper” is not generating solar power, the country's space agency JAXA says.

Photo by Ganapathy Kumar / Unsplash

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) landed the moon's surface at around 12:20am (15:20GMT Jan 19) and re-established communication with earth, but its solar panels were not able to generate electricity, possibly because they are angled wrong.

The mission's primary objective is to test pinpoint landing technology, aiming for an accuracy of less than 100 meters. This level of precision is unprecedented for a gravitational body like the moon and could significantly enhance the quality of data collected during future missions.

SLIM landed on the slope of the Shioli crater near lunar sea Mare Nectaris. The site was selected based on high-resolution images from lunar orbiters

On landing, SLIM also deployed two mini-probes – a hopping vehicle as big as a microwave oven and a tennis-sized wheeled rover – that is designed to take pictures of the spacecraft.

India's Chandrayaan-3 in August made a historic touchdown on the moon's south pole, a major technological feat given the rough terrain, highlighting India's rise as a major player in space.