First photo of SLIM lander on lunar surface reveals why it’s having problems – DNyuz

First photo of SLIM lander on lunar surface reveals why it’s having problems

Earlier this month, Japan’s highly-anticipated moon mission, the SLIM lander (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon), successfully landed on the lunar surface with pinpoint precision. JAXA shut down the SLIM lander , shortly after the landing. They cited an issue where the solar panels were pointing away from the Sun, towards the west. Now, we finally know what happened.

According to a statement and a newly released photograph of the lander, JAXA says that it appears to have landed on its nose, with its main thrusters pointing up toward space. This would explain why the lunar lander has been unable to get power to its solar panels, which should be facing eastward towards the sun but instead are facing to the west.

This is a strange problem that may very well condemn the spacecraft’s life to the moon. The photo that revealed this information was taken by a small robot ejected from the SLIM lander after its landing. The robot, named LEV-2, or SORA-Q, is one of two tiny rovers that hitched a ride to the moon aboard SLIM. The image on top of the article shows the correct orientation.

While the image of the SLIM lander isn’t exactly the greatest ever taken, it is the first image taken by a Japanese robot on the lunar surface, making it a pretty big deal for Japan’s space agency. Despite having landed on its nose, the SLIM lander’s descent to the moon is still considered successful, as the lander didn’t explode, and it still managed to land where it needed to.

Tech. Entertainment. Science. Science.

Sign up for the most interesting tech & entertainment news out there.

Email: SIGN UP

By signing up, I agree to the Terms of Use and have reviewed the Privacy Notice.

How exactly it came to be on its nose is unclear. It could have landed awkwardly and then fell over, or perhaps the landing didn’t go as smoothly as JAXA thought. Either way, the space agency is hopeful that SLIM will pick up some sun before it sets in that area on February 1. The lunar lander will likely be lost after that.

The post First photo of SLIM lander on lunar surface reveals why it’s having problems appeared first on BGR.

Loading...