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Business News/ Science / News/  ‘Miracle’ Japan's Moon lander survives second lengthy lunar night, defying predictions
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‘Miracle’ Japan's Moon lander survives second lengthy lunar night, defying predictions

Japan's moon lander survives a second weekslong lunar night, beating predictions.

(FILES) This handout photo released on January 25, 2024 from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and credited to JAXA, Takara Tomy, Sony Group Corporation and Doshisha University shows an image of the lunar surface taken and transmitted by LEV-2 'SORA-Q' the transformable lunar surface robot 'SORA-Q' (operation verification model), installed on the private company's lunar module for the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) mission, after landing on the Moon on January 20. Japan's Moon lander has produced another surprise by waking up after the two-week lunar night, the country's space agency said on February 26, 2024. (Photo by Handout / various sources / AFP) (AFP)Premium
(FILES) This handout photo released on January 25, 2024 from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and credited to JAXA, Takara Tomy, Sony Group Corporation and Doshisha University shows an image of the lunar surface taken and transmitted by LEV-2 'SORA-Q' the transformable lunar surface robot 'SORA-Q' (operation verification model), installed on the private company's lunar module for the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) mission, after landing on the Moon on January 20. Japan's Moon lander has produced another surprise by waking up after the two-week lunar night, the country's space agency said on February 26, 2024. (Photo by Handout / various sources / AFP) (AFP)

Japan's first moon lander responded to a signal from Earth, suggesting it has survived a second freezing weekslong lunar night, Japan's space agency said Monday.

JAXA called the signal, received late Sunday night, a “miracle" because the probe was not designed to survive the lunar night, when temperatures can fall to minus 170 degrees Celsius (minus 274 degrees Fahrenheit).

The craft, Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM, made a “pinpoint" touchdown on Jan. 20, making Japan became the fifth country to successfully place a probe on the moon.

But the probe landed the wrong way up, with its solar panels initially unable to see the sun and had to be turned off within hours.

Also Read: Japan's Moon lander achieves successful soft landing, resumes operations

SLIM regained power on the eighth day after its landing, when it got the sun. For several days, SLIM collected geological data from moon rocks, before going back into hibernation in late January to wait out another lunar night.

JAXA said Sunday's communication was kept short because it was still “lunar midday" and SLIM was at a very high temperature, about 100 Celsius (212 Fahrenheit). JAXA is now preparing to make contact again when the vehicle has cooled.

Also Read: India's Chandrayaan-2 guides Japan's SLIM mission to land on Moon

Scientists are hoping to find clues about the origin of the moon by comparing mineral compositions of moon rocks and those of Earth. 

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Published: 27 Feb 2024, 07:34 AM IST
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