Japan's First Moon Lander SLIM Survives Third Freezing Lunar Night

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Japan's First Moon Lander SLIM Survives Third Freezing Lunar Night

Japan's first moon lander, named SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon), has captured a part of the moon's surface in an image sent back to Earth, demonstrating its survival through a third brutal lunar night. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) revealed that the lunar probe managed to respond to a signal from Earth, ensuring that it was still operational after enduring the frigid temperatures that can plummet to minus 170 degrees Celsius during a lunar night.

SLIM successfully reached the lunar surface on January 20, marking Japan as the fifth country to land a probe on the moon. Despite facing initial challenges such as landing upside down with its solar panels unable to receive sunlight, causing it to power off temporarily, the probe managed to restart its operations when the sun rose eight days later. Originally designed for testing pinpoint landing technology and collecting geological data and images, SLIM has now surpassed expectations by surviving multiple lunar nights, a feat that was not initially planned for by its developers.

JAXA expressed its satisfaction with SLIM's key functions still being operational after enduring numerous temperature fluctuations, indicating that the lander is continuing to work effectively. While scientists analyze the data collected by SLIM to potentially unveil the moon's origins, the mission represents Japan's significant contribution to lunar exploration efforts. The successful mission comes in contrast to other recent lunar expeditions, such as the termination of a U.S. lunar probe's operations and the failure of communication of an Indian moon lander after touchdown in 2023.