Science and technology
NASA has found the wreckage of HAKUTO-R, the Japanese lander crashed on the Moon
Images taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter after the crash
NASA has identified the point of impact of the Japanese lander HAKUTO-R crashed on the lunar surface on April 25.
The mission had launched on December 11, 2022 on a Space X Falcon 9 rocket and would have been the first completely private to reach the Moon.
HAKUTO-R had lost contact with the base shortly before the moon landing.
According to scientists at Ispace, the Japanese company leading the project, it was a leak of propellant in the final stages that caused the lander to crash.
On April 26, 2023, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) acquired 10 images of the possible impact site, an area of about 40 by 45 kilometers, with its Narrow Angle Cameras.
Using an image prior to the landing attempt, the NASA team began searching for the lander.
The photos show four relief points that could represent the impact crater and/or some wreckage of the lander.
"The site will be analyzed more thoroughly in the coming months," said Emerson Spreyerer, an engineer at NASA's LRO.