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Updated December 28th, 2023 at 16:25 IST

Japan's lander SLIM sends pictures from Moon's orbit ahead of January landing

Japan's SLIM lander will attempt a touch down on January 24 near the Shioli Crater on the near side of the Moon.

SLIM
Picture sent by SLIM from the lunar orbit. | Image:JAXA
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Japan's Moon lander SLIM has beamed pictures of the lunar surface ahead of its landing scheduled for January 2024. According to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the lander entered the lunar orbit at 1:21 pm IST on December 25. 

Short for Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM), the lander will attempt a touchdown on January 24 near the Shioli Crater on the near side of the Moon.

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"SLIM successfully completed main engine injection at 16:51 and successfully entered lunar orbit! Below is an image sent from SLIM near the moon," JAXA announced in a post on X.

Pictures sent by SLIM. Image: JAXA

The 2.7-meter-tall lander was launched on September 7 from Japan and is currently orbiting the Moon in a 600X4000 km orbit (600 at its closest and 4000 at its farthest).

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Pictures sent by SLIM. Image: JAXA
Pictures sent by SLIM. Image: JAXA

If the touch down is successful, Japan will become the fifth country to make a soft-landing after the US, USSR, China and India, which landed near the South Pole of the Moon with Chandrayaan-3 in August. Notably, it will also be the first landing attempt by Japan. Although, Tokyo-based ispace, a private firm, also attempted to land on the Moon in April but crashed due to sensor malfunction a few metres above the surface.

"SLIM is a small-scale exploration lander designed for pinpoint landings on the Moon’s surface, reduction in the size and weight of equipment used in Moon landings, and investigation into the Moon’s origins," JAXA said in the mission description.

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"It will also test technology fundamental to exploration in low-gravity environments, an important requirement for future scientific investigation of the solar system," it further said.

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Published December 28th, 2023 at 16:13 IST

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