Sunday, January 21, 2024
Japan's moon rover, the "Smart Lander for Investigating Moon" (SLIM), is on the brink of shutting down tonight due to a solar power glitch, jeopardising Japan's recently achieved lunar landing, The US Sun reported.
Despite accomplishing a "precision landing" within 100 meters of its target, SLIM has ceased sending signals as its solar panels encounter difficulty generating electricity.
The solar panel malfunction has left SLIM incapacitated, unable to recharge its batteries, and is expected to run out of power by tomorrow night, curtailing Japan's inaugural moon mission.
There are concerns that the rover's solar panels may be positioned incorrectly, but there is optimism for a revival next month when the sun's direction changes.
Hitoshi Kuninaka, the chief of the space agency, explained the situation, stating: "It takes 30 days for the solar angle to change on the moon.
So when the solar direction changes and the light shines from a different direction, the light could end up hitting the solar cell."
The space agency is hopeful that alterations in the sun's position may offer a lifeline to the stranded moon rover.