Regarding the operation of the unmanned probe "OMOTENASHI" aiming for Japan's first moon landing, JAXA = Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said that the situation where communication with the ground is unstable continues from the night of the 21st to the dawn of the 22nd. We will carefully decide whether to attempt the planned lunar landing.
Unstable communication continues
The spacecraft "OMOTENASHI", which aims to land on the moon for the first time in Japan, was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on the 16th of this month on a large American rocket, but after separation from the rocket, communication with the ground has continued to be unstable. increase.
The initial plan is to try to land on the lunar surface around 11:55 pm on the 21st, but according to the development staff, the battery cannot be charged because the solar panel is oriented so that it cannot receive light, and there is no improvement. It means that the outlook is not standing.
JAXA plans to improve the situation by sending signals to the spacecraft using communication antennas in Spain and the United States. It's a schedule.
If the situation improves, the development manager says that there is a possibility of success if the landing place is soft sand by challenging the landing by correcting the trajectory before passing the moon.
What is “OMOTENASHI”?
"OMOTENASHI" is a probe that aims to land on the moon.
Japan has never landed on the moon, and if it succeeds, it will be the fourth to do so, following the former Soviet Union (1966), the United States (1966), and China (2013).
According to the plan, "OMOTENASHI" will eject the gas jet of the spacecraft after separating from the rocket to correct its trajectory toward the moon.
Then, just before landing on the moon, the spacecraft itself will be rotated to stabilize its attitude while changing its direction in order to prepare for landing.
Unlike Earth, which has an atmosphere, it cannot open a parachute to slow down, so a solid rocket is injected in the direction of travel to slow it down.
It will slow down to about 180 kilometers per hour and crash into the moon.
Several measures have been taken in advance, such as inserting shock-absorbing cushioning materials into the spacecraft, and the plan is to land on the moon by just 'body crashing'.
Whether or not it was successful will be confirmed by the radio waves sent to the earth.
As a mission, "OMOTENASHI" is scheduled to measure the exposure dose every minute after entering orbit to the moon, in addition to landing on the moon, and to collect data on the radiation environment in preparation for manned lunar exploration activities. I'm doing it.
If it can land on the moon, it will be the smallest lunar lander in the world.
What is the Artemis Project?
"OMOTENASHI" was launched in the "Artemis Project" led by the United States.
The "Artemis Project" is a plan to send astronauts to the moon again.
In the 1960s and 1970s, like the "Apollo Project" that sent mankind to the moon, it is named after Greek mythology, and "Artemis" is the twin sister of "Apollo" and is considered to be the goddess of the moon.
In the plan, we will first aim for the moon in three stages.
In the first phase, this time, a newly developed spacecraft "Orion" will be launched unmanned using a newly developed rocket, and a test flight to orbit the moon will be performed.
After that, as the second stage, we plan to carry out a test flight to actually orbit the moon with astronauts on board by 2024, and in the third stage, we plan to have astronauts land on the moon by 2025.
If all goes according to plan, it will be the first time in half a century since Apollo 17 landed on the moon with astronauts in 1972.
Beyond that, the plan is to build a new space station called Gateway, which will orbit the Moon, and to send astronauts there regularly.
The plan will be based on the moon, with a manned landing on Mars in the 2030s.
NASA originally aimed to land astronauts on the moon by 2024, but the launch was delayed due to delays in rocket development.
In this plan, NASA aims for the first female astronaut to land on the moon, and Japanese astronauts are also considering landing on the moon.