You don’t seem to be here anymore if you don’t put a rover on the Moon. After the United States, the Soviet Union, China and India, Japan wants to be next.
On September 7, it flew successfully Japan’s XRISM/SLIM mission, an original game with very interesting objectives. It will release a technology they call Moon Sniper well he wants to land exactly in the assigned area, without detours.
The H-IIA F47 rocket took off at 8:42:11 am (Japanese time) from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. It is now in the correct orbit towards the Moon, as confirmed by the Maspalomas Control Station, in the Canary Islands.
It’s our first time to meet a mission to the Moon with two different phases. In the first part of the mission, called XRISM, a satellite was placed in Earth orbit. And now the SLIM (Moon Intelligent Landing Module) mission is happening, with the goal of land with absolute precision.
A more accurate way to land on the Moon
“The main purpose of SLIM is to land where we want on the lunar surface, instead of landing where we can,” said Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA, the Japanese space agency, in a press conference. Easier said than done…
The Moon landing was very complicated (say in Russia). Landers are very small vehicles that weigh very little. The Moon has low gravity, so it is difficult to stop, and the earth is full of craters and rocks.
Any slight deviation in the descent of a few millimeters in orbit, or a few tenths of a second in a maneuver, could cause the module to crash. In the best case, it will land a few kilometers from the designated area.
So far, that’s the precision of the lunar landing: a few kilometers on the margin. This is a big problem, because lunar rovers are vehicles that move very slowly, on the order of centimeters a day, and landing a kilometer from the chosen location can be it will take months for the rover to get there, if at all.
the JAXA SLIM mission want to reduce the landing margin to less than 100 meters a success.
To do this, he uses a completely different method than usual, which describes a parabola almost parallel to the earth, 7 kilometers long, to finally make a sharp turn in the exact spot. Here you can see it:
This is a very complex and ambitious landing. Something strange, considering that JAXA had already made a failed landing on the Moon a few years earlier. But if he succeeds, he could inaugurate a new way to land on another planet.
This precision is very important, now that the new missions have specific objectives, such as finding water, that only take place in specific areas.
Japan’s XRISM/SLIM mission wants to land on the Moon with sniper precision. But it will take some time to verify this. The maneuver will not be performed until 2024.