SLIM, the precision lunar lander, has regained power. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency managed to restore communication with the device more than a week after its landing. The vehicle resumed scientific observations, although engineers noted that they may soon cease.
Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) spacecraft landed on the lunar surface more than a week ago. The main goal of his mission was to prove that a precise landing on the Silver Globe was possible, but it was not without problems. During its descent, the rover twisted in a way that prevented it from using its solar panels to maintain power. Japan Aeronautics and Space Administration (JAXA) temporarily put the equipment into sleep modehoping to “awaken” it when the sun’s rays begin to fall on the Moon from the other side.
Resumption of work
As JAXA reported on social media, communication with the device was restored late on Sunday. The probe was probably able to generate energy by changing the direction of sunlight. SLIM has resumed analyzing the composition of lunar olivine-bearing rocks using a multi-band spectral camera. This study aims to help answer questions about the origin of the Moon.
However, there may be little time to act. While JAXA engineers did not provide a specific end date for the SLIM mission on the moon, they previously said the lander was not designed to survive the lunar night, which is scheduled to begin Thursday.
The main goal of the SLIM mission was to test precision landing technology on the lunar surface based on the analysis of visual data. For this reason, the equipment was called the “lunar sniper”. The device landed 55 meters from the chosen target on difficult, sloping terrain. As JAXA explained, this technology could play an important role in future exploration of the moon’s poles, which may harbor water ice near them.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/JAXA HANDOUT