Japan Successfully Lands Probe On Moon

Japan Successfully Lands Probe On Moon

Jan. 20, 2024, 8:49 a.m.

Japanese space agency officials say they have successfully landed an unmanned space probe on the moon. Japan is the fifth country to achieve the feat, after the former Soviet Union, the United States, China and India.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched a lunar lander from Tanegashima Space Center, Kagoshima Prefecture, in September.

JAXA officials said that SLIM, or Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, touched down successfully on Saturday.

But they said that the onboard solar battery is not generating power, adding that other equipment is generally functioning properly.

The landing target was just 100 meters across. That is far more precise than previous moon missions. The technology JAXA used is expected to pave the way for more pinpoint landings.

The global race to explore the lunar surface is heating up, with more involvement from the private sector.

US space agency NASA aims to launch a manned mission to the moon in 2026. It will be the first attempt in about half a century.

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