Japan moon lander SLIM by JAXA put to sleep post surviving night

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's invention SLIM has made a soft landing on the moon, making Japan the fifth nation on the list. Read below to learn about the mission goal.

Shruti Chopra
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Courtesy: X/JAXA_en

Japan's space agency said that the Moon lander has been returned to sleep following its unexpected survival of the icy two-week lunar night. 
In January, the unmanned Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) landed at an odd angle, causing its solar panels to face the wrong direction.

It reactivated for two days as the sun's angle changed, allowing scientists to use a high-spec camera to take scientific studies of a crater.
This week saw the SLIM probe awaken after two weeks, causing another surprise—it was "not designed for the harsh lunar nights," when the temperature drops to - 133 degrees.

JAXA shares insights

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) posted a photograph of the stony lunar surface that was taken by the probe on X, the previous Twitter platform, on Friday. JAXA tweeted regarding SLIM sharing that the technology went to sleep again on March 1, after 3 am (Japan Time).

JAXA stated that even though the extreme temperature cycles will make failure more likely, they will try SLIM operation once more when daylight returns in late March.

JAXA reveals SLIM:

Japan added to list 

Due of its precise landing technology, SLIM—also referred to as the "Moon Sniper"—landed inside its assigned landing zone on January 20. 

Japan followed the US, the USSR, China, and India as the fifth nation to successfully complete a "soft landing" on the moon. The accomplishment was a win for the nation's space program after a string of recent disappointments.

This landing follows the arrival of the first private spacecraft on the Moon, the American lander Odysseus, which was launched without a crew.
On Thursday, the lander sent its last picture before running out of battery.

Mission goal

The mission's goal is to investigate a supposedly accessible portion of the Moon's mantle, or the typically deep inner layer under its crust. This project being a success is one step closer to Japan's aspirations coming true. 

Future plans

A second attempt at functioning is planned for later this month. Later this decade, NASA intends to send astronauts back to the Moon. In the future, the US and its allies hope to build permanent settlements in the area and extract polar ice for both drinking water and rocket fuel for future trips to Mars.