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The Japanese probe intact survived a third lunar night

The Japanese probe intact survived a third lunar night

The Japanese space agency JAXA announced on Wednesday that the Japanese probe Slim (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon), which landed on the moon at the end of January, has survived its third lunar night, more permanently than expected. Three lunar nights is a long time, as each one lasts about two Earth weeks.

The Japanese agency was again able to contact the probe and published on the X website a new image of the moon’s surface taken by the machine. “The Slim has retained its main functions,” welcomed Jaxa, which initially warned that this small unit was not designed to withstand extremely cold temperatures (up to -130 degrees Celsius) on lunar nights.

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“We will continue to carefully monitor the condition of the area [la sonde] “And check which parts of it are likely to deteriorate the most,” depending on the day and night on the moon, JAXA added. This probe is supposed to analyze rocks on the Moon's surface coming from its “mantle”, i.e. its internal structure, which is still not well understood.

Several revivals to his credit

With Slim, who landed with a high degree of accuracy on the surface of the moon, Japan became the fifth country in the world to succeed in landing on the surface of the moon, after the United States, the Soviet Union, China and India. However, due to a kinematic problem in the last tens of meters of its descent, the probe descended at an angle, depriving its west-facing photovoltaic cells of sunlight.

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After an initial period of inactivity lasting about ten days and an initial awakening, the probe was put into hibernation and survived its first lunar night, before returning to sleep at the beginning of March and restarting after its second lunar night.

Before it was turned off, the machine was able to land normally on its two small rovers, supposedly to analyze rocks for the moon's internal structure.