Japan’s ‘Moon Sniper’ wakes up and shares new images of lunar surface
Tokyo CNN —
Japan’s “Moon Sniper” robotic explorer is back in action after a power issue forced the spacecraft to shut down hours after landing on the moon 10 days ago, the country’s space agency said Monday.
The explorer executed a precise landing just after 10:20 a.m. ET on January 19 (12:20 a.m. January 20 Japan Standard Time), making Japan the fifth country ever to put a spacecraft safely on the lunar surface — but faced a critical issue almost immediately.
The spacecraft landed facing the wrong direction after one of its engines failed during landing, meaning its solar cells couldn’t generate electricity and it had to rely on limited battery power, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
The agency shut off the lunar explorer to conserve its battery, saying it would automatically be restarted if its solar panel began generating power as the angle of the sun changed.
On Monday, JAXA announced on the social media platform X that it had “succeeded in establishing communication with (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM) last night and have resumed operations!”
The explorer has also captured new images of the lunar surface and returned them to the mission team on Earth.The lander's multi-band camera took a closeup on a rock nicknamed «Toy Poodle.»
The lander is equipped with a multi-band camera to capture images of the lunar surface. The mission team previously combined 257 images captured by SLIM right after landing to create a mosaic showcasing the landing site. Team members also nicknamed rocks of interest, choosing monikers that correspond to their size estimates.
A new image shared by the agency on Monday is a closeup of the rock “Toy Poodle.” The lander is designed to briefly