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Japan aims soft landing on moon on January 20 – Times of India

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MUMBAI: If all goes according to plan, Japan will become the fifth country to land on the moon, if its nearly 730kg spacecraft SLIM — Smart Lander For Investigating Moon — also called Moon Sniper, executes a successful soft landing on the lunar surface on January 20 at 8:50 pm (IST).
The other four countries which have soft-landed on the moon are India, the US, China and Russia.
According to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa), the primary role of the mission is to do a pinpoint landing on the moon, evaluate size and weight of equipment used in the landing and investigate the moon’s origins.
The touchdown zone is on the near side of the moon near Shioli crater, close to the Sea of Nectar.
Launched on September 7, 2023, by the Japanese H-11A rocket, from Tanegashima Space Centre, the 100 million dollar mission will also study technology “fundamental to exploration in low gravity environment,” according to Jaxa.
On Monday, Jaxa announced that SLIM was ready to initiate the landing process.
This will be Japan’s third attempt to land on the moon. In 2022, Jaxa had lost contact with its Omatenashi lander and scrubbed the landing attempt. Then, in April 2023, the Hakuto-R-Mission-1 lander made by a Japanese firm ISpace crashed while descending towards the lunar surface.
The Saturday night SLIM landing is being viewed with interest in India because of this country’s planned collaboration with Japan in a future moon mission.
A press release issued by the Indian embassy in Tokyo just after the successful touchdown on the moon by Chandrayaan-3 on August 23, 2023 said: “India’s successful unmanned lunar landing has added momentum to a water exploration mission with Japan.”
It is called the Lunar Polar Exploration Mission (LUPEX), provisionally slated for lift-off between 2026-2028.





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