Japan's ambitious lunar mission, known as Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM), has achieved a significant milestone by successfully entering lunar orbit on December 25. If all goes according to plan, SLIM will attempt an unprecedented precision landing on the moon on January 19, potentially making Japan the fifth country in history to achieve a soft landing on Earth's celestial neighbor.
Managed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the SLIM mission has been progressing smoothly since its launch on September 6.
The upcoming landing attempt is scheduled to take place on January 19. The mission aims to achieve a landing with an extraordinary degree of accuracy, within a mere 100 meters of the designated landing spot.
SLIM carries two experimental rovers: LEV-1, designed to hop across the lunar surface, and LEV-2, a lightweight rover intended to assess the feasibility of using such small rovers for lunar exploration. These rovers will play a crucial role in capturing images of the landing site and evaluating the precision of the touchdown.
One of SLIM's primary objectives is to demonstrate a lunar soft landing with exceptional accuracy. This precision landing, if successful, could have significant implications for future lunar exploration efforts, enabling access to scientifically valuable areas that were previously considered too risky for landing.