Sci-Tech | Jan 23

JAXA shuts moon probe's power off, hopes to charge malfunctioning solar battery

TOKYO, Jan 23 (NHK) - Japanese space agency officials say they have shut off the power of its space probe that successfully landed on the moon on Saturday due to a malfunctioning solar battery.

Officials with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are now hoping to activate the battery of the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM.

The officials announced on Saturday that the spacecraft had touched down on the moon successfully, making Japan the fifth country to achieve the feat.

But they also said the lander's solar power generation system was not working.

The officials announced on Monday that their ground control had cut off the space probe's power generation system as its solar battery's remaining charge dropped to about 10 percent.

They say the cut-off is to prevent any abnormalities from occurring during their efforts to recover power.

Under the initial plan, the probe's solar battery was to face upward after landing on the moon. But the officials say data indicates the lander has tilted and the battery now faces westward.

They say the battery may be able to generate electricity again if it gets sunlight from the west.

Once the probe recovers power, the officials plan to take images of the moon's surface and examine rocks to find out their chemical makeup, with the hope of learning more about the origin of the celestial body.

JAXA says the spacecraft successfully transmitted data and images taken during its descent to and landing on the moon before power was shut down.

The officials are analyzing the data to determine whether the spacecraft succeeded in a high-precision landing on a target site.

JAXA plans to provide more details at a news conference on Thursday.

Source: ANNnewsCH


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