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Japan becomes the fifth country to make a soft landing on the Moon

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 22-01-2024
Japan becomes the fifth country to make a soft landing on the Moon Space 7 min read

Japan has become the fifth country in the world to successfully make a soft landing on the Moon on January 20, 2024. On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Japan for making its first soft landing on the Moon. During this, PM Modi expressed hope for cooperation between the space organizations of the two countries.

Japan's Moon Mission:

  • Japan launched the “Moon Sniper” probe to the moon on September 6, 2023, with its Mitsubishi rocket. Sniper entered the lunar orbit on 25 December 2023. Since then it has been moving towards the surface of the moon. It has landed on the near side of the Moon.
  • Despite the total expenditure of 102 million dollars for JAXA to launch it, its lander SLIM is not functioning.
  • Whereas ISRO not only successfully launched Chandrayaan-3 at an expenditure of only Rs 600 crore but all its instruments are fully operational.
  • The Sniper is equipped with the most advanced technology for landing on previous Moon missions. The radar-equipped Smart Lander for Investigation Moon (Slim) also known as the “moon sniper” lander has landed on the moon's surface near the equator.

Snipe’s solar cell fails to generate electricity:

  • The solar cell of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's spacecraft is not generating electricity, casting clouds of uncertainty over the success of the mission. JAXA teams are analyzing the data to determine the cause of the solar cell problem.

Fifth country to reach the Moon:

  • Earlier, Russia, the United States, China and India have successfully done soft landings on the Moon.
  • But JAXA believes the mission has met the criteria to declare it a minimal success. Because the spacecraft made a precise and soft lunar landing using optical navigation. This mission makes Japan the third country to land on the Moon this century and the fifth overall.
  • The small-scale SLIM robotic explorer, which launched in September 2023, was dubbed "Moon Sniper" because it carried new precision technology to demonstrate a "pinpoint" landing.

Benefits of Pinpoint Landing:

  • According to 'Space.com' website, the biggest advantage of pinpoint landing is that a specific place is focused in advance. A large amount of information about this is already available and accordingly, the design of the lander and post-landing rover movement are decided.
  • The sniper's target will be an area of 100 meters around it.

About Smart Lander for Investigation Moon (SLIM) Lander:

  • The weight of this lander is 200 kg, the Length is 2.4 meters and the width is 2.7 meters. It features an outstanding radar, laser range finder, and vision-based navigation system. These equipments have been helpful in accurate landing.
  • The installed cameras will capture high-resolution images of the Moon's rocks.
  • It also has a Lunar Exploration Vehicle and Lunar Robot. These have been named SORA-Q. Their size is very small and they can be kept on the palm.

Sniper's task on the moon:

  • Japan's Moon Mission Sniper aims to investigate the Shioli Crater of the Moon. It is located in the northern lunar sea. The rover will explore the formation of the moon, examine minerals, and gather information about its internal composition in this region.
  • According to JAXA, SLIM will test an experimental technique that is unprecedented and essential to the search for water and other factors that sustain life on the Moon.

Several Moon missions will be launched in 2024:

  • Many lunar missions are going to happen in this year 2024. American startup Intuitive Machines aims to launch its IM-1 Mission in mid-February.
  • China aims to launch the Chang'e-6 spacecraft to the far side of the moon in the first half of 2024, with the mission focused on collecting samples from an ancient basin.
  • Tokyo-based iSpace has said it will launch its second moon mission this year.

India-Japan joint lunar mission:

  • ISRO and JAXA will jointly launch the Lunar Polar Exploration Mission (LUPEX). It is likely to be launched around 2026. The launch mass of the mission will be about six thousand kilograms (6 tons).

American Peregrine Mission One fails:

  • On January 8, 2024, the United States launched Peregrine Mission One. This landing attempt was unsuccessful after the spacecraft suffered a "serious" fuel leak just hours after launch.

NASA plans to launch its Lunar Polar Exploration Rover Viper (VIPER) in November 2024. The US space agency last week announced new delays to its Artemis moon program, scheduled to land its first astronauts on the moon in half a century in 2026.


Answer:- Japan

Answer:- Moon Sniper

Answer:- Smart Lander for Investigation Moon (Slim) Lander

Answer:- Fifth
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