The Japanese Aerospace Explorations Agency (JAXA) has become the fifth national space agency to make contact with the moon, on the 20th of January the The Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) successfully landed. The main purpose of the mission was to test if JAXA could land an object within a one hundred meters of its targeted location.

The landing was a success proving that a lander can precisely touch down in a preprogramed location , which is a promising sign for future space travel.

Unfortunately the lander did not deploy its solar panels correctly which means its only energy is what was in it battery on landing. JAXA has used the battery to transmit as much data about the SLIM’s landing back to earth and hopes that the moon will rotate to be able to power the solar panels so the lander may continue to stream data back to earth.

Image: Image: Shutterstock – Elena11

Produced By: Dominic Giles

Featured In Story: Dr Ben Montet, Scientia Senior Lecturer at the School of Physics, University of New South Wales

First aired on The Wire, Tuesday 23 January 2024