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Japan becomes 5th nation to land on the moon, solar cells stop working as JAXA struggles to revive Moon Sniper

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency achieved success on Monday after their Moon Sniper craft landed on the lunar surface making Japan the fifth nation to do so. However, the cells in the craft are not generating enough power to send data to the Japanese Space Agency. The silence so far from JAXA is fuelling speculations.

Japan becomes 5th nation to land on the moon, solar cells stop working as JAXA struggles to revive Moon Sniper avv
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First Published Jan 20, 2024, 4:02 PM IST

Japan created history by successfully landing its rover on the surface of the moon. The Moon Sniper craft achieved its landing on a crater however silence crept in the headquarters of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) despite a clear indication on the live stream that the rover landed. The silence fuelled speculation on the mission. 

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency released a statement about an hour after the landing of Moon Sniper craft. The pinpoint accuracy of the landing was achieved at 00:20 am on 20 January 2024 (Japan Time) but the cells in the craft were not generating enough power to send the live data.

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The statement read, “Communication has been established since landing. However, the solar cells are not generating power, and data acquisition from the lunar surface is given priority. The SLIM is operated with on-board batteries. The data acquired on landing is stored in the spacecraft, and we are currently working to maximise the scientific results by first transmitting this data back to Earth.”

Even after close to 15 hours of landing, JAXA has not indicated any success in generating power on the Moon Sniper. The space agency is trying to revive the cells but with fading time, the probability remains low. Mankind after multiple decades has revived its ambition to learn about the lunar surface. The initial space race between the erstwhile Soviet Union and the United States began with a landing on the lunar surface.

However, after the end of the Cold War, the interest in the Moon suddenly vanished away as the focus shifted towards Mars. India recently became the fourth nation to successfully land a rover on the moon through the Chandrayaan 3 mission. Just before that Russia tried to land their craft but failed. Israel and a US private firm also failed in their respective mission of landing on the lunar surface.

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