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Japan Moon lander resumes working after power issues

Japan Moon lander resumes working after power issues Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (

Japan's robotic explorer on the moon, Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) or "Moon Sniper", resumed working after it had power problems because of an upside-down landing. Japan became the fifth country to safely land a spacecraft on the moon on January 19, despite some difficulties, CNN and AP News report.

Even though the explorer landed precisely, it faced a big issue right away. One of its engines failed during the landing process, causing it to face the wrong direction. It means that its solar cells could not make electricity, and it had to rely on limited battery power, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Japan's space agency explained that to save the spacecraft's battery, it turned off the lunar explorer, with plans to restart it automatically once its solar panel could generate power after changes in the moon's angle.

On Monday, JAXA shared on X that it successfully communicated with SLIM, and operations have resumed. The explorer has even taken new pictures of the moon's surface.

A monochromatic image revealed the rugged lunar landscape, featuring a particular rock named "Toy Poodle". The probe is studying six rocks, named after different dog breeds.

SLIM is anticipated to receive sufficient sunlight, enabling it to support operations for several Earth days. JAXA is uncertain about the craft's functionality following another bitterly cold lunar night.

Japan's mission

The current successful mission has made Japan the fifth country to land on the Moon, joining others such as the Soviet Union, the United States, China, and India, which successfully conducted the Chandrayaan-3 mission last year.

Although Japan's mission faced challenges, it is considered a "minimum success" because it achieved a precise and gentle landing on the moon using optical navigation. Now, Japan aims to use the lander to gather unique information about a moon region called the Sea of Nectar.

The spacecraft module was launched back in September 2023. It landed near a crater named Shioli, about 200 miles south of the Sea of Tranquility, where Apollo 11 first landed on the moon.

Recent American failed moon mission

In January, an American spaceship called Peregrine which was supposed to land on the moon, marking the U.S. first landing in 50 years, faced problems and was destroyed. It was launched on a new powerful rocket, called Vulcan, made by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The Peregrine was on a 10-day trip, but it encountered issues with its fuel system. The company that carried out the mission, Astrobotic, decided to crash it into Earth's atmosphere.