The moon lander from Japan was not designed to withstand a lunar night lasting weeks


SLIM official X account @SLIM_JAXA 

- Another icy lunar night has been braved by Japan's trailblazing lunar exploration mission, a major turning point in the country's space activities. After weeks in the frigid lunar darkness, the lunar lander, Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM), has not only survived but also replied to signals from Earth, according to an announcement made on Wednesday by Japan's space agency.

SLIM has shown its resilience by bouncing back as the lunar day dawned, with temperatures rising to around 100 Celsius (212 Fahrenheit), after temperatures dropped to a bone-chilling minus 170 degrees Celsius (minus 274 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout the lunar night.

When SLIM landed on the lunar surface back on January 20, it created history and joined the select group of countries that have successfully landed probes on the moon. Its inverted landing on its debut, though, caused its solar panels to briefly become blind to the light. But in keeping with its name, SLIM showed its flexibility by turning back on eight days later when sunlight fell on its panels.

At first assigned to assess Japan's precision landing technology and collect priceless geological information and photos, SLIM was not designed to survive the arduous lunar nighttime conditions. But against all the obstacles, it has exceeded expectations, its essential functions still intact after the persistent attack of the hostile lunar environment.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said on social media site X that SLIM has shown resilient and promised to keep a close eye on its status as it faces the next lunar nights.

This victory comes just after NASA successfully restored communication with Voyager 1, the farthest man-made object from Earth, which had been silent for months and was only returning gibberish.

The dramatic contrast of a US lunar probe run by a private space corporation ceasing operations just one month after landing in February highlights the enormous difficulties involved in lunar research. Similar communication problems beset an Indian moon lander when it landed in 2023, underscoring the erratic character of space travel.

Past the world of technical successes and failures is the deep search for knowledge. With great anticipations of examining the mineral compositions of lunar rocks in comparison to those of Earth, scientists are determined to solve the puzzles surrounding the moon's beginnings. All lunar missions, whether successful or not, add a piece to the cosmic jigsaw and move mankind closer to discovering the mysterious mysteries of our star neighbour.

In addition to representing a technical accomplishment, Japan's SLIM also represents the unwavering spirit of exploration that propels humanity ever further into the great unknowns of space.

(newsline paper teams)

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