Image credit: JAXA/ISAS


A Japanese spacecraft is headed for the Moon, on course to attempt a pinpoint landing using technology that transforms descending onto the lunar landscape where it is “easy to land” to touching down “where you want to land.”

Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) was launched September 7, departing Earth atop an H-IIA launch vehicle from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Tanegashima Space Center.

Image credit: JAXA/TOMY Company/Sony Group Corporation/Doshisha University

SLIM – also called “Moon Sniper” — successfully transitioned into a lunar transfer orbit early last month, and the vehicle is slated to touchdown near Shioli crater sometime early in 2024.

Given mission success early next year, Japan becomes the 5th country to soft land a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon.

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