Japan became the fifth country in the world to manage to place a spacecraft on the Moon, after the SLIM probe (acronym for Smart Lander for Investigating Moon), from the Japanese space agency, JAXA, has successfully landed on Earth’s satellite.
SLIM touched the lunar surface at around 3:30 pm this Friday, Lisbon time, when it was already 00:30 am on Saturday in Tokyo.
According to Reuters, the probe is on the lunar surface after a soft landing. The New York Times newspaper, on the other hand, was following the probe’s approach live and says that, initially, there were still doubts about whether the landing had been successful or whether, on the contrary, the probe had crashed. on the surface of the Moon.
For several minutes after landing, the live broadcast made by JAXA was interrupted, promising a press conference from those responsible for the mission soon. According to CNN, those responsible for the Japanese space agency were still checking the status of the probe, before holding a press conference to formally announce the achievement to the world.
Japan thus becomes the fifth country to reach the Moon, after the United States, the Soviet Union, China and India — and enters what has already been considered the new race to the moon. Last year, the Japanese space agency had failed in its first attempt to land a probe on the Moon. In August, it was India’s turn to land a device on the satellite.
On the other hand, Russia also tried, in August last year, to land a probe on the Moon for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union, but the attempt was frustrated. The United States is equally involved in these efforts. CNN explains that this new race for space has a well-identified motivation: the idea that water could exist beneath the lunar surface.
One of the objectives of this probe is to test the ability of a small probe to land on a very precise target (just 100 meters wide). Scientists may still take a few days or weeks to determine the accuracy of this landing to determine whether the objective was achieved.