Japan’s lunar lander regained power exactly nine days after landing on the moon’s surface. almost upside down and later decommissioned, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) announced. The change in the sun’s position allowed the solar panels to receive light and charge the probe’s battery, allowing JAXA to reestablish communication.
Shortly after SLIM (Smart Lander to Explore the Moon) landed, things looked grim. The agency immediately noticed a problem with the production of electricity, but was able to launch a pair of probes on the surface of the moon. The Lunar Excursion Vehicle 2 (LEV-2) snapped an incredible photo of SLIM, showing it upside down with its panels pointing away from the sun. Main engine failure was cited as the cause.
Last night the connection with SLIM was successfully established and operations resumed! Science observations immediately began with MBC, and we obtained the first light for a 10-band observation. This figure shows a “toy poodle” observed in multi-strip observation. pic.twitter.com/WYD4NlYDaG
— 小小月着陸実証機SLIM (@SLIM_JAXA) January 29, 2024
JAXA thought there was a chance the probe could recover once the sun’s rays were directed more toward the solar panels, and that’s exactly what happened. Shortly after power was restored, he used the multi-band spectral camera to take another image of the previously described rock formation called the “toy poodle.” The team is also targeting several other rocks with dog-related names, such as “St. Bernard,” “Bulldog,” and “Shibainu.”
The upside-down landing may have appeared to be an unrecoverable failure, but it appears the mission may now proceed more or less as planned. As the baseball-sized LEV-2 probes the surface (also transmitting data via the LEV-1 probe, which has two cameras), SLIM will capture what science it can.
In any case, the mission was already considered successful, since the main goal was a precise landing. He did just that, hitting a point just 55 meters (180 ft) from his target. It is not known how long SLIM can operate, as it was never designed to survive a solar night, and the next night is Thursday.