Lunar module releases last image before shutting down

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The Japanese lunar module SLIM shut down its activities, which may or may not resume, before a cold night on the Moon, but first it made records and collected scientific data that could help researchers investigate more features of the satellite.

The Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) landed on the Moon on January 19 this year. Despite engine problems that caused the module to land nose down, the landing was a success due to the precision with which it reached the edge of the Shioli crater.

SLIM’s operation began about 10 days after its landing, because its landing problem caused its solar panels to face west, making the module unable to receive the expected levels of radiation.

According to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), during this time the Moon’s surface was examined with the spacecraft’s Multi-Band Camera (MBC) to learn more about the lunar composition. The goal was to investigate olivine and other minerals by analyzing the light signatures, or spectra, of reflected sunlight.

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The last image of SLIM

The final image taken by SLIM was published in mission X account on January 31, with a caption announcing that the spacecraft had inactivated its operations as scheduled. Now JAXA will have to wait for the lunar night, which lasts about 14 Earth days, to end, and wait for favorable lighting and temperature conditions to see if the lander can be revived.

For SLIM’s activities to be turned on again, its electronics must survive temperatures on the lunar equator that are close to minus 130 degrees Celsius. However, even if this does not happen, the mission has already achieved its objectives of:

  • Land with precision;
  • Deploy a couple of small rovers;
  • Demonstrate your ability to share data securely and automatically;
  • And obtain scientific data.

In addition to the latest SLIM photo, the mission profile also published images labeled its study targets from MBC spectroscopic images. Results will be announced as soon as they are obtained.


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Lunar module releases image shutting

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