Japan has joined an elite group of nations that have landed a spacecraft on the Moon, becoming the fifth to do so. Its achievement follows that of the U.S., the former Soviet Union, China, and India.
On Jan. 19, Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (Slim) executed a pinpoint landing, landing just 55 m from its intended site. However, despite the unconventionally precise lunar landing, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) ran into a complication as reports of technical difficulties made it to Earth.
According to JAXA, an engine glitch during descent stopped one of the two thrusters on Slim from working, resulting in the spacecraft landing upside-down on its nose. While this unexpected development has not dampened the mission’s success, it presented a unique challenge. With the solar cells facing away from the Sun, the lander could not generate electricity. With Slim’s battery rapidly dwindling, JAXA officials eventually put it in hibernation two hours and 37 minutes after the touchdown. However, they remained optimistic that Slim would be capable of recharging once the Moon’s west side started receiving sunlight. Fortunately, on Jan. 29, conditions shifted enough for the lander to become operational.
JAXA’s lunar mission aims to analyze lunar rocks to uncover potential water resources on the Moon, a crucial step for building future lunar bases. Even with the unexpected hiccup, Japan celebrates a triumph in lunar exploration, demonstrating precision landing capabilities and pushing the door open to a new era in space exploration.
Hannah Kim For The Teen Times teen/1708395857/1613367659
1. What has Japan done on Jan. 19? What happened despite the precise lunar landing?
2. What did an engine glitch do? What challenge did this lead to?
3. What did JAXA officials do in response to the upside-down landing? What happened on Jan. 29?
4. What does JAXA’s lunar mission aim to analyze? Why?
1. What is interesting about Japan? Expalin in detail.
2. What are some causes of car accidents? Are they common?
3. What would you do if your plane was about to crash?
4. What do lunar missions accomplish? Would you go on one?