Japan’s SLIM moon lander snaps final pics before going dormant (photos)

Japan’s SLIM moon lander snaps final pics before going dormant (photos)

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Japan’s historic SLIM moon lander has powered down ahead of a likely mission-ending cold lunar nighttime — but not before grabbing some final images and loads of science data. 

SLIM, short for “Smart Lander for Investigating Moon,” nailed its precision touchdown on the rim of Shioli crater on Jan. 19, despite engine troubles that saw it land nose-down. As a result, the spacecraft’s solar cells face westward and are unable to receive the expected levels of sunlight, initially cutting operations on the lunar surface very short. But SLIM triumphantly reawakened nearly 10 days after landing, as the sun finally shone on its panels. 

Related: Japan’s SLIM moon lander photographed on the lunar surface — on its nose (image)

Image of the lunar surface captured by Japan’s SLIM moon lander. Due to different solar radiation conditions over time, some rocks to be observed were changed and added. (Image credit: JAXA, Ritsumeikan University, University of Aizu)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which operates SLIM, has spent recent days scanning the nearby lunar surface with the spacecraft’s Multi-Band Camera (MBC) to learn about its composition. 



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