Is Japan's Moon mission dead like ISRO's Chandrayaan-2? All about the solar panel failure of SLIM and steps taken by JAXA to revive it

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Historic Landing and Initial Challenges Japan's SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) accomplished a historic lunar landing, becoming country's first successful Moon lander. However, complications arose as its solar panels failed to generate electricity on the moon, casting doubt on the lander's continued functionality, according to a report by

Chandrayaan-2 Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) also faced an unsuccessful initial Moon landing attempt with Chandrayaan-2, after the lander crashed upside down just inches above the lunar surface. Despite this setback, ISRO achieved a successful Moon landing with Chandrayaan-3 in August, 2023, securing its position as the fourth nation to accomplish this feat

SLIM Moon Lander However, SLIM, may still be operational despite initial setbacks, providing a glimmer of hope for its future. The spacecraft made history by touching down on the lunar surface on January 19, marking Japan as the fifth nation to achieve a successful moon landing.

Update from JAXA The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) provided an encouraging update, stating that SLIM has not been declared dead. Efforts are underway for a possible recovery, indicating that the lander's mission may not be concluded.

Intentional Power Down Facing a battery power dip to 12% capacity on the lunar surface, SLIM intentionally powered down to avoid risking an inability to restart for a recovery operation due to over- discharge.

Solar Cells' Orientation Telemetry data revealed that SLIM's solar cells are facing west on the lunar surface. The possibility of power generation exists if sunlight shines from the west, offering a potential avenue for recovery.

Data Transmission Success Despite challenges, SLIM successfully transmitted technical data and imagery collected during its descent and landing on Friday, demonstrating its capacity to communicate valuable information.

Awaited Status Update SLIM's handlers plan to provide a comprehensive status update at the end of the week, shedding light on data analyses conducted to date and potentially offering insights into its landing accuracy.

"Moon Sniper" Technology Test Designed as a technology demonstrator, SLIM aims to prove the feasibility of super-precise lunar landings, earning the nickname "Moon Sniper." The probe aimed to land within 330 feet of a designated spot on the rim of the Moon's Shioli Crater.

Mini-Rovers and Lunar Exploration Accompanying SLIM are two mini- rovers, LEV-1 and LEV-2, which deployed as planned. LEV-1 has been confirmed to be operating on the lunar surface, contributing to Japan's lunar exploration efforts. Japan joins the ranks of nations achieving soft landings on the Moon, with SLIM showcasing the country's advancements in space exploration.