Why is it in the news?
- Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) spacecraft has successfully entered lunar orbit and is poised for a moon landing on January 19, potentially becoming the fifth country to achieve a soft landing on the moon.
More about the news
- The Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) mission is Japan’s inaugural lunar surface endeavour, aiming to demonstrate precision landing capabilities on the Moon with a specific target of landing within 100 meters of the Shioli crater.
- The mission was constructed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
- SLIM was launched on September 7, 2023, sharing its launch with the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) space telescope.
- SLIM weighs a mere 590 kg, which is approximately one-seventh of the weight of Chandrayaan-3, mainly achieved by carrying significantly less fuel.
- SLIM utilized Earth’s gravity to build kinetic energy, aligning its trajectory with the moon for a more controlled and deliberate approach.
- The spacecraft follows a larger, more elongated path, strategically designed to be deflected into deeper space by the combined gravitational forces of the Earth and Moon. This unique trajectory allows SLIM to return near the Moon after it has decelerated further, facilitating its capture by the Moon’s orbit.
- Upon achieving a soft landing, SLIM plans to deploy two small rovers known as Lunar Excursion Vehicles (LEV) 1 and 2. These rovers will conduct detailed studies of the lunar surface in the vicinity of the landing site, collect temperature and radiation data, and endeavour to explore the Moon’s mantle.
- The success of SLIM is of paramount importance for the Lunar Polar Exploration (LUPEX) Mission, a collaborative effort between the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and JAXA. SLIM’s low weight and precision landing capabilities could serve as a valuable reference and contribute to the planning and execution of Chandrayaan 4.
|XRISM Space Telescope
· The X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) space telescope, launched alongside SLIM, aims to investigate celestial X-ray objects in the Universe.
· It utilizes high-throughput imaging and high-resolution spectroscopy for its scientific objectives.