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Tue, 02/27/2024 - 07:39
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JAXA Resumes Communications with Lunar Lander

Tokyo, Feb. 26 (Jiji Press)--The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said Monday that it has re-established communications with its lunar lander, after it went to sleep during night at the landing spot. 

The Small Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM, the first Japanese craft to successfully touch down on the moon, had its operations halted during the lunar night, when temperatures fall far below minus 100 degrees Celsius.

SLIM went into sleep after its Jan. 31 operations as night fell at the landing spot, making its solar cells unable to generate power.

According to JAXA, communications with SLIM were revived around 7 p.m. Sunday, but operations were soon halted again as the temperature of the communications equipment was high.

The agency will wait for the equipment to cool down before checking the condition of the lander's observation equipment.

"We were able to confirm that the probe was at least functional after the night had passed," SLIM project manager Shinichiro Sakai said.

SLIM landed near the Shioli crater in Mare Nectaris, or the Sea of Nectar, on the moon in the early hours of Jan. 20.

One of its engines was damaged just before touchdown, making it land at an unexpected angle and rendering it unable to generate power with its solar cells. It was taken offline about two and a half hours later.

The probe resumed operations on Jan. 28, after the direction of the sun changed and light reached the solar cells.