NASA lunar orbiter locates debris from Japan’s failed lands

NASA has released new images that appear to show the destroyed remains of Japan’s Hakuto lander, which crashed onto the lunar surface in a failed mission last month.

The Hakuto-R Mission 1 lunar lander, organized by Tokyo-based lunar exploration startup ispace, was launched in December 2022 with the aim of becoming the first privately funded spacecraft to land and operate on the lunar surface.

But after several months in space, an anomaly occurred in the final moments before the spacecraft’s scheduled landing. With all contact lost, it was not clear how and exactly where the lander impacted the moon, but images taken recently by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) appear to have shed new light on the matter.

LRO took 10 images around the planned landing site using its narrow-angle cameras, according to NASA. By comparing before-and-after photos, a team was able to pick out what appear to be fragments of the failed Hakuto lander scattered over a long distance. NASA highlighted them in one of the images, shown below:

highlights  The killer deal drops this slim 24-inch monitor to $75
Possible fragments of ispace lander that crashed on the moon.
NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

“The image shows at least four prominent pieces of debris and several small changes,” NASA said.

It added that the crash site will be analyzed in more detail over the coming months using additional LRO images that will be captured in different lighting and viewing geometries.

The main objective of iSpace’s mission was to place two small rovers on the lunar surface, and more broadly to demonstrate its ability to successfully place a lander on the lunar surface.

Despite the disappointing end to the endeavor, ispace said it was able to acquire valuable data for the entire mission until the very last moment, and that it will use the knowledge it gained to try again with a similar mission as part of its work to promote the efforts of the private sector in space development.

NASA is spending billions of dollars on contracts with private firms to develop landers capable of bringing cargo to the lunar surface as part of its Artemis program.

highlights  Get this 15-inch Lenovo laptop for $200 with this flash deal

Editor’s recommendations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *