Kamikaze! Failed Japanese Moon Lander Hits Lunar Soil Nose First

2024-01-25 06:08:24

Japan’s lunar lander ended up standing on its nose with its engines pointing up at the inky sky after its touchdown on the Moon’s surface, images released Thursday appear to show.

The first picture of the stricken spacecraft shows it rotated 90 degrees from how it should have come to rest, the BBC reports.

The awkward upside down finish may go some way to explaining the difficulties it has since had in generating the electricity essential to it completing its tasks.

The image was captured by the small baseball-sized robot called Sora-Q that was ejected from the lander moments before touchdown last Saturday.

Daichi Hirnao (L), associate senior researcher at JAXA’s Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center, explains an image of the lunar surface taken and transmitted by LEV-2 “SORA-Q” the transformable Moon surface robot “SORA-Q” installed on the private company’s lunar module for the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) mission, after landing on the Moon on January 20, during a press conference in Tokyo on January 25, 2024. (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

“An abnormality in the main engine affected the landing attitude of the spacecraft,” the Japanese space agency Jaxa said in a statement.

It seems one of the two big thrusters on SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) stopped working during the descent.

While most previous probes have used landing zones about six miles wide, SLIM was aiming at a target of just 330 feet.

Improved accuracy would give scientists access to more of the Moon, since probes could be placed nearer to obstacles.

Officials said there is still hope the probe will be able to recharge when the lunar surface enters its daytime in the coming days.

Japan is now the fifth country in history to achieve a soft touchdown on the moon after the Soviet Union, the U.S., China and India.

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to: skent@breitbart.com



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