Why is it in the news?
Japan’s Moon-lander mission, known as SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon), successfully launched after several weather-related delays.
About the Mission
- Unique Lunar Route: SLIM is taking a distinctive route to the Moon and is expected to land in four to six months, making it the smallest and lightest spacecraft to land on the Moon if successful.
- Fifth Country to land on the Moon: A successful SLIM landing would make Japan the fifth country in the world to achieve this feat.
- Additional Payload: The H-IIA rocket carrying SLIM also transported the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM), a satellite for astronomical observations, which was successfully deployed in its intended orbit.
- First Moon-Landing Attempt by JAXA: This mission marks JAXA’s first attempt at landing on the Moon.
- An earlier private Japanese company’s attempt in May of the same year ended in failure.
- Slim’s Objective: SLIM is a compact spacecraft, weighing about 200 kg, with a primary goal of demonstrating precision landing within 100 meters of the chosen site on the Moon.
- Pinpoint Landing Technology: JAXA emphasizes the importance of “pinpoint” landing technology to access scientifically interesting lunar sites.
- SLIM’s landing site is near the equatorial region, close to a small crater named Shioli.