Science & Technology

Nasa moon images may show Japan lander crash site

Tokyo, May 24 (EFE).- The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) on Tuesday published images showing what appears to be the debris of Japan’s Hakuto-R Mission lander, which is believed to have crashed on the Moon while trying to make a pioneering landing.

The images, captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), show four objects on the lunar surface that are thought to be parts of the Japanese lander.

The lander, measuring about 2.3 meters high and 2.6 meters long, was launched on Dec. 11, 2022 by startup ispace, which aspired to carry out the world’s first private moon landing.

On Apr. 25, the device began a controlled descent to land near the moon’s Atlas crater when communication with the lander was lost. A day later ispace declared the landing “not achievable,” believing that the machine’s speed had rapidly increased before it made a “hard landing.”

That same day, Nasa’s LRO took 10 images around the planned touchdown site and comparing them to images taken before the landing attempt, the team began to search for the device, it said in a statement Tuesday.

The team “identified an unusual surface change near the nominal landing site,” specifically “at least four prominent pieces of debris and several small changes” on the surface, it said.

Nasa believes that these could be “could be a small crater or different parts of the lander body,” although it is planning “additional observations of the site under various lighting conditions and viewing angles.”

Founded in 2010, ispace defines itself as a global company whose vision is to expand the planet through concrete actions such as offering low-cost, high-frequency transport services between Earth and the moon.

The firm has offices in Japan, Luxembourg and the United States, and has joint projects with Nasa and the European Space Agency. EFE


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