Japan's SLIM lander beams moon images home before Jan. 19 landing (photos)

Japan’s SLIM lander beams moon images home before Jan. 19 landing (photos)

science, technology By Dec 27, 2023 No Comments

Japan’s SLIM Lander Beams moon Images Home Ahead of Jan. 19 Landing

On christmas Day, Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating moon (SLIM) entered orbit around the moon and transmitted its first images of the lunar surface. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) released monochrome yet highly detailed images of the crater-pocketed moon surface through its X feed, formerly Twitter. This marked a significant milestone in the SLIM mission, setting the stage for its upcoming touchdown on the moon on Jan. 19.

Unveiling the Lunar Surface

Following a successful insertion into lunar orbit, which occurred at 2:51 a.m. EST (0951 GMT or 4:51 p.m. Japan time) on Dec. 25, SLIM captured and transmitted images showcasing the rugged and captivating lunar terrain. The spacecraft‘s main engine injection was completed at 16:51, heralding the triumphant entry into lunar orbit. JAXA officials shared their excitement, reporting that the images had been sent from SLIM near the moon, signifying an important moment in the lunar exploration.

The Journey to the moon

The SLIM mission began on Sept. 6, with the spacecraft‘s launch accompanied by JAXA’s X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM). While XRISM remained in orbit around Earth, fulfilling its mission to investigate cosmic X-ray sources, SLIM embarked on a trajectory to the moon. The elliptical orbit established by SLIM enables it to circle the moon approximately once every 6.4 hours, bringing the lander as close as 373 miles (600 kilometers) to the lunar surface, with the spacecraft reaching a distance of up to 2,485 miles (4,000 km) from the moon.

Setting the Stage for Historic Success

With an anticipated landing date of Jan. 19, SLIM carries the potential to achieve a historic lunar touchdown, positioning Japan as the fifth country to accomplish this feat after the Soviet Union, the U.S., china, and India. If SLIM completes its lunar landing successfully, it will carve its place in history, contributing to the legacy of lunar exploration.

Trailblazing Mission Objectives

After its scheduled lunar landing, SLIM aims to validate the technology required for landings on the moon and Other celestial bodies in the Solar System. Additionally, SLIM will conduct extensive investigations of the lunar surface with a small-scale probe, marking a significant step forward in the exploration of celestial bodies.

Pioneering Landings on Celestial Bodies

JAXA emphasized the significance of the SLIM lander, highlighting its transformative impact on humanity’s ability to land on planets and celestial bodies. By enabling a shift towards targeted landings, rather than merely pursuing the easiest landing options, SLIM opens the door to exploring planets and bodies in the Solar System that were previously considered resource-scarce.


Japan’s SLIM mission represents a crucial step in advancing human potential for Space Exploration. Through its groundbreaking objectives and technological validation, SLIM seeks to expand our understanding of celestial bodies and pave the way for future exploration endeavors.

Source: space

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