April 22, 2024

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Live |  Japan lands on the moon with the ship “SLIM” “Sniper” |  Sciences

Live | Japan lands on the moon with the ship “SLIM” “Sniper” | Sciences

Japan aspires to become today (around 4:20 pm Spanish time) the fifth country that was able to successfully land on the moon using one of its devices, after the Soviet Union, the United States, China and India. Although its position in the race does not look bright, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is dressing up its challenge with capabilities that make its mission groundbreaking. The probe Moderate build (English abbreviation for “intelligent lunar lander”), also known as the “lunar sniper”, wants to land with much greater precision than usual. Unit eaglewith which Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans on the Moon, was accurate enough to land on an ellipse 20 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide. Moderate build It intends to land at a maximum distance of 100 meters from the point chosen to do so, in the Cheoli Crater.

Although the moon landing has been going on for more than half a century, it is still not a routine operation and the success rate is still around 50%. JAXA's goal is to prove that its technology not only allows it to land safely on an extraterrestrial world, but to do so exactly where each mission requires it. The Japanese agency explains: “Currently, there is an increase in knowledge of astronomical objects and the details that should be studied have become more specific, so high-precision landings near the study target have become a necessity.”

If successful, its precision instruments, which include cameras adapted to image recognition algorithms to detect dangerous obstacles, could be integrated into new missions to explore the Moon in search of water and other resources and improve exploration of other planets and satellites of the Moon. .

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In addition to testing the precision landing system, Moderate build It has two small explorer robots on board, LEV-1 and LEV-2 (Lunar Excursion Vehicles). The first is the size of a microwave, weighs two kilos, and can be moved by jumping. It has a camera to take pictures, a thermometer, radiation and tilt meters, and can communicate with Earth. Lev-2It is a ball slightly larger than a tennis ball and weighs 250 grams. It can be divided into two parts to reveal two chambers.

An image of the LEV-2 robot with the word “SLIM”.JAXA

Japan has already managed to land two missions, Hayabusa 1 and 2, on very distant asteroids, but the moon poses different challenges, given its greater gravity. In statements to Reuters, Kazuto Saeki, a professor at Ritsumeikan University, who developed the infrared camera for… Moderate buildHe states that his country “cannot overcome the United States, China, or India in terms of resources” allocated to the moon mission. For this reason, it is considered appropriate to focus on developing technologies that might be interesting for other countries to incorporate into their projects. With this approach, it wants to play a role as a partner alongside other countries. It is scheduled to launch a joint robotic mission with India in 2025, and in the coming years it plans to send a Japanese man to the moon in cooperation with NASA's Artemis program.

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