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The Japanese space agency will try again to wake up its lunar probe

The Japanese space agency will try again to wake up its lunar probe

(Tokyo) – The Japanese Aerospace Agency (JAXA) announced on Tuesday that it will attempt to revive its SLIM lunar probe, which has been in a deep sleep since the beginning of March for a second lunar night, after already surviving its first sleep.

“We hope there will be enough sunlight on the solar cells to start SLIM,” the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said on the X website around Tuesday evening, explaining that its teams will begin operations on Tuesday to restart the probe.

The agency added that it did not know whether Slim would respond during the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, after being exposed to extreme cold.

The SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) module made a very high-precision moon landing on January 20, making Japan the fifth country to successfully land on Earth's natural satellite after the United States, the Soviet Union, China and India.

But due to a kinematic problem in the last tens of meters of its descent, SLIM landed at an angle, depriving its west-facing photovoltaic cells of sunlight.

After an initial period of inactivity, the probe was able to be reactivated at the end of February, after surviving the lunar night for two weeks, before returning to sleep at the beginning of March.

Salim fell into a small hole less than 300 meters in diameter called Shiuli. Before it was turned off, the instrument was able to land its two miniature rovers naturally, supposedly to analyze rocks coming from the Moon's inner structure (the lunar mantle), which is still poorly understood.

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Another probe, Odysseus, operated by the American company Intuitive Machines, was able to land on the moon at the end of February, and was also askew, but it was completely extinguished, the company announced on Saturday, which had initially hoped to reactivate it after the moon. a night.

Odysseus was the probe that made the southernmost landing on the moon, an area of ​​special importance to the great powers, because there is water in the form of ice.

NASA eventually wants to send astronauts to the moon, as part of the Artemis missions.