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Japan sends a probe to the moon

Japan sends a probe to the moon

Among other things, the small probe has a telescope on board and aims to explore the origins of the universe.

Japan sent a small probe to the moon. The H2A carrier rocket successfully took off from Tanegashima Cosmodrome Thursday morning (local time) in clear weather. In addition to the SLIM lunar lander, there was also an X-ray telescope called XRISM, which aims to explore the origins of the universe.

The launch of the missile has been postponed several times due to bad weather. If Japan succeeds in the SLIM project, the high-tech country will become the fifth country to achieve a soft landing on the moon, after the former Soviet Union, the United States, China and India.

After India and the Russian attempt

India was only able to do so a few days ago after a Russian space probe crashed on the moon. The lunar lander, developed by the Japanese space agency JAXA, aims to test technologies for future precision landings on the lunar surface. SLIM is scheduled to enter lunar orbit about three to four months after launch and attempt to reach the lunar surface in four to six months.

The data Japan collected on the moon will be used as part of the US-led Artemis project. The goal of this project is to return people to the moon by 2025 and advance lunar exploration. The broader goal is human exploration of Mars.

Collaboration with NASA and the European Space Agency

Japan is also working with NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) on the XRISM (X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission) mission. XRISM is designed to observe the winds of hot gaseous plasma blowing through galaxies in the universe. It is hoped that this will provide information about the formation and evolution of celestial bodies.

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It was the first launch of a larger, Japanese-designed launch vehicle since the failure of the next-generation H3 rocket in March this year. The successor to the reliable H2 launch vehicle was Japan’s first new development of a large launch vehicle in nearly 30 years. Japan intends to firmly establish itself in the increasingly competitive and lucrative global satellite launch field. The H3 missile program is also seen as important to Japan’s participation in space development, including the US-led Artemis programme. (appa)