Japan Successfully Lands on the Moon — With a Unique Twist: Upside Down!

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Japan has become the fifth nation to land a probe successfully on the Moon. The U.S.A. is also included, as are China, India, and the Soviet Union.

On Jan. 20, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAEA) launched SLIM lander, a smart lander for investigation of the moon. SLIM landed 60 yards away from its target, on its back.

The mission was risky right from the beginning. JAXA planned to land SLIM between two craters.

JAXA shut down SLIM after taking a few photos of the surface. JAXA tested if SLIM worked.

To communicate the relative size of each rock, the team names them based on an image of the surrounding landscape.

It’s not all bad news. SLIM – referred to by JAXA as “Toy Poodle” – landed just at the right angle so that its solar panels could charge it up after dawn. SLIM was reactivated on Saturday.

LEV-1 & LEV-2 were launched as two robotic rovers. They began exploring the area surrounding the landing site. The robots captured an image of SLIM, which helped JAXA better understand how SLIM landed.

If it had not landed correctly, the vehicle would have ended up upside down. On his Monday morning podcast, Dr. Albert Mohler posed the question: “What are your thoughts on that metaphor for mankind?

Two robot probes conduct experiments and activities on the lunar surface. JAXA, SLIM, and other agencies are searching for clues about the origin of the moon’s surface.

Japan will gain valuable insights into the atmosphere of the moon before the lander has to be exposed to the cold night of the Moon.