Japan also wants to land a probe on the moon

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Japan also wants to send a probe to the moon. A Japanese launcher of the type H2A will take off on Thursday from the spaceport Tanegashima on the Japanese island of the same name in the southwest of the country, the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries group announced Monday.

The start was previously postponed several times due to bad weather conditions. The launch vehicle carries the SLIM lunar lander, developed by the Japanese space agency JAXA, to test technologies for accurate landings on the lunar surface.

The probe should land in a small crater
The lunar module SLIM (the abbreviation stands for Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) is an irregularly shaped cube measuring 2.4 by 2.7 by 1.7 meters and weighing 590 kilograms. The lander is planned to land in the center of a crater called Shioli – a small impact crater that is inside the much larger Cyril crater.

If successful, Japan would become the fifth country to achieve a soft landing on Earth’s satellite after the former Soviet Union, the US, China and India. The country, which is looking to firmly establish itself in the lucrative satellite launch market, has endured several setbacks this year, including a false launch of a next-generation H3 rocket.

The moon must be reached within six months
Just a few days ago, India succeeded as part of the mission ‘Chandrayaan-3’ shortly after the Russian space probe ‘Luna-25’ crashed into the moon. Japan plans to launch SLIM into lunar orbit about three to four months after launch and try to reach the lunar surface within four to six months.

The data Japan collects on the moon will be used as part of the US-led ‘Artemis’ project, which aims to return humans to the moon and advance lunar exploration by 2025. The broader goal is human exploration of Mars.

Source: Krone

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