Japan lands on the Moon

Japan has ramped up its lunar development and will take on future moon explorations.

Japan has become the fifth country in history to land on the moon with its spacecraft.

Driving the news: The mission aims to achieve a “pinpoint landing” on the lunar surface, following the recent trend of lunar exploration.


  • A power supply issue has put the mission at risk, and more time is needed to assess the success of the landing.
  • Despite the power supply issue, Japan’s space program considers the mission at least a “minimum” success.
  • The Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) spacecraft landed on the moon and is transmitting data back to Earth.
  • SLIM’s solar battery is not generating power, and the remaining battery life is limited.

The backstory: Japan follows the United States, the Soviet Union, China, and India in reaching the moon.

  • The mission’s main goal is to test new landing technology and gather data about the moon’s origin and minerals.
  • SLIM, nicknamed “the Moon Sniper,” is a lightweight spacecraft using “pinpoint landing” technology, aiming for a target of just 100 meters.
  • The mission is viewed as essential for Japan’s position in lunar development and future moon explorations. Before landing, SLIM went through a descent phase using a pad for cushioning impact.
  • SLIM is carrying two small autonomous probes, LEV-1 and LEV-2, which will be released during the mission. JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) will broadcast a live stream of the landing.
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