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‘20 minutes of terror’: Japan successfully lands ‘Smart Lander’ on the Moon

via Global News
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Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) made a historic landing on the lunar surface and achieved a precise touchdown in a specific location using advanced technology.

This marks Japan’s first robotic explorer landing on the moon the third country to do so in the 21st century.

Kenji Kushiki, the subproject manager of the SLIM mission, wrote in a statement, “The start of the deceleration to the landing on the Moon’s surface is expected to be a breathless, numbing 20 minutes of terror.”

JAXA reported, “Nowadays, there has been an increase in the knowledge of target astronomical objects and the details which should be studied have grown more specific so that high accuracy landings near the target of study have become necessary.”

The mission’s goal is to demonstrate pinpoint landing capabilities for low-cost and lightweight robotic probes, potentially enabling future missions to target specific sites on the moon, even in challenging terrain.

The SLIM lander is equipped with vision-based navigation and is set to study the lunar surface near the Sea of Tranquility, potentially uncovering valuable information about the moon’s origins.

“A closer look at such minerals could reveal information about the Moon’s interior structure and formation,” continued the agency’s report.

JAXA reported, “However, sites of crater ejecta are usually avoided due to the difficulty of landing within a small ejecta strewn area on the sloped sides surrounding a crater.”

Kushiki said, “landing is a one-shot game that cannot be undone.”

This initiative aligns with a broader international push to explore the moon, with a particular focus on the lunar south pole and its potential resources.

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