Credit: Harbin Institute of Technology

 

China’s micro lunar orbiter — Longjiang-2 (also known as DSLWP-B) – crashed into the Moon’s farside on July 31 (Beijing Time), reports the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration.

Weighing 104 pounds (47 kilograms) Longjiang-2 was sent into space on May 21, 2018, together with the Chang’e-4 lunar probe’s relay satellite and entered the lunar orbit four days later.

Lifespan

The small spacecraft operated in orbit for 437 days, exceeding its one-year designed lifespan, reports China’s Xinhua news agency.

The satellite carried an ultra-long-wave detector, developed by the National Space Science Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, aiming to conduct radio astronomical observation and study solar radiation.

Credit: Daniel Estévez/Dwingeloo

Longjiang-2 also carried an optical camera developed by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology of Saudi Arabia. The camera was used successfully to capture 30 high-definition images of the Moon, Xinhua notes.

Rest in pieces

“There is a new crater on the Moon,” tweeted satellite observer and astronomer working at ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, Cees Bassa. On the day of the crash, he reported: “We are already 5 minutes past the moment DSLWP-B would have appeared from behind the Moon if it had not crashed. The fact that we are no longer receiving signals means it has impacted the lunar surface. RIP DSLWP-B.”

Credit: Cees Bassa

The collision with the Moon was planned since January of year, adds amateur radio expert, Daniel Estévez, and was done as a means to end the mission without leaving debris in lunar orbit.

Estévez explains that on January 24, the periapsis (low point) of the lunar orbit of DSLWP-B was lowered approximately by 310 miles (500 kilometers), so that orbital perturbations would eventually force the satellite to collide with the Moon.

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