Japan's moon lander sleeps after a second ultra-silly lunar night


Japan's heroic moon lander has been put back to sleep after unexpectedly surviving its second extremely cold long lunar night, the space agency said Monday.

The Smart Lander for Lunar Exploration (SLIM) — nicknamed the „Moon Sniper” for its landing accuracy — touched down in January, making Japan the fifth country to land on the soft moon.

But the unmanned light spacecraft, carrying a mini-rover that moves like a turtle, landed at an angle with its solar panels facing the wrong way.

Defying pessimistic predictions, the probe was revived after a lunar night — which lasts about 14 Earth days — ended in late February.

Despite facing temperatures as low as -130 degrees Celsius (-200 degrees Fahrenheit), it repeated the feat last week and sent new images back to Earth.

On Monday, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced that it had returned to hibernation on Sunday.

„During this operation, we mainly checked the status of several devices by turning on switches and applying loads,” JAXA said on social media site X.

„Although MBC has some malfunctions in some of its functions, it is still working, so we are carefully checking its condition,” it said, referring to the multi-band camera used to study lunar rocks.

Certain types of rocks surrounding lunar craters are thought to contain material from its crust, which could provide clues as to how the moon formed.

(Other than the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)

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