Credit By: Science Times
In a significant stride towards achieving its first successful lunar landing, Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) has successfully entered the Moon’s orbit. This development marks a crucial moment for Japan’s space exploration ambitions, with the anticipated lunar touchdown scheduled for the coming month.
Moon Sniper’s Precision Mission
Nicknamed the “Moon Sniper,” SLIM is distinguished by its precision capabilities, designed to land within an impressive 100 meters (328 feet) of a specific target on the lunar surface. If successful, Japan would join an elite group of nations—comprising the United States, Russia, China, and India—that have accomplished the challenging feat of landing a probe on the Moon.
Successful Orbital Entry
On Monday, at 04:51 pm Japan time, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced the successful entry of SLIM into the Moon’s orbit. JAXA highlighted that the trajectory shift occurred as planned, with no anomalies detected in the probe’s conditions.
Unprecedented Lunar Exploration
JAXA expressed confidence in the mission’s progress, emphasizing that everything is proceeding according to the original plan. The next critical phase involves the lander’s descent towards the lunar surface, scheduled to commence at midnight Japan time on January 20. The actual landing is anticipated to take place just 20 minutes later, representing a pivotal moment in Japan’s pursuit of lunar exploration.
Historic Lunar Landing on the Horizon
The journey began in September when the H-IIA rocket, taking off from the southern island of Tanegashima, transported SLIM into space. Despite facing three postponements due to adverse weather conditions, the mission has persevered, showcasing Japan’s determination to play a significant role in lunar exploration.
As Japan edges closer to achieving a historic lunar landing, the success of SLIM holds the promise of expanding our understanding of the Moon’s surface and contributing valuable data to the global body of lunar exploration knowledge. The precision exhibited by the “Moon Sniper” heralds a new era in space exploration for Japan and reinforces the nation’s standing in the international space community.
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