The JAXA SLIM lunar station is threatened with shutdown due to lack of energy

The JAXA SLIM lunar station is threatened with shutdown due to lack of energy

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has reported the latest data on the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (Slim) station. The device was able to release two probes that were on board to the lunar surface. However, in the near future the station may shut down due to lack of energy: the device’s solar panels do not produce electricity.

As explained by JAXA, the SLIM panels likely opened at the wrong angle. The device is still powered by its battery, but it will last for a very limited time. Experts hope that sunlight will still fall on the panels so that they can start generating power, but this could take up to 30 days.

JAXA also confirmed that the device was able to touch down within a radius of 100 meters from the intended point, as the mission organizers had hoped. The precision landing technology is expected to be used in future studies of the hilly lunar poles, where it is planned to search for oxygen, fuel and water.

SLIM was launched on September 6, 2023, on an H-2A rocket from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center. The device entered lunar orbit on December 25 after a 110-day journey to the moon. On January 19, SLIM was able to touch down near the Shioli crater at 18:21 Moscow time. The station delivered two probes to the Moon:

  • Lunar Excursion Vehicle 1 (LEV-1) is a lunar rover with a jumping mechanism, the possibility of communication with the Earth, wide-angle cameras of visible light and antennas of the UHF range;

  • Lunar Excursion Vehicle 2 (LEV-2) or Sora-Q is a transforming all-terrain vehicle developed by JAXA in collaboration with Tomy, Sony Group and Doshisha University. The rover weighs 250 g and is equipped with two small cameras.

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