Japan's Slim probe
which made Japan the fifth country in the world to successfully land on the Moon, made the most precise space landing to date, landing
55 meters from its target
This was announced by the Japan Aerospace Agency (
The Slim (
Smart Lander for Investigating Moon
) landed at 00:20 Japanese time on January 20, after a bumpy 20-minute descent in which it lost one of its two engines, Jaxa general director Hitoshi Kuninaka explained
The goal was to land within 100 meters of the intended location, compared to the several kilometers required by landers on previous lunar missions.
Jaxa also published the first images of the Moon landing on Thursday, but the Japanese undertaking was accompanied by a serious downside: Slim had a
problem with the orientation of his solar panels
, which forced the Agency to suspend power supply less than three hours after the moon landing, to save batteries for a subsequent restart.
Jaxa believes it is possible that the solar panels will work again when the angle of the Sun at the moon landing site changes.
Slim landed in a small crater less than 300 meters in diameter, called Shioli, and was able to land her two mini-rovers normally, which were supposed to carry out analyzes of rocks coming from the internal structure of the Moon (the lunar mantle).
Japan's first two attempts to land on the Moon had failed.
In 2022, a Jaxa probe, Omotenashi, aboard the American Artemis 1 mission, suffered a fatal battery failure shortly after its ejection into space.
And in April 2023, a lunar lander from the young Japanese private company Ispace crashed onto the surface of the Moon, having failed to perform a “smooth” descent.