Japan gearing up to launch small moon lander next month

SLIM is scheduled to lift off on Aug. 25.

space.com -- Jul 29

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is gearing up to send the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM, mission to the moon on an H-2A rocket on Aug. 26 Japan time (0034 GMT, 9:34 a.m. JST, or 8:34 p.m. EDT on Aug. 25).

SLIM is, as its acronym suggests, a small-scale moon mission, but it has bigger ambitions in mind. The main aim of the lander — which is 7.9 feet (2.4 meters) high, 8.8 feet (2.7 m) wide and 5.6 feet (1.7 m) deep — is to demonstrate accurate lunar landing techniques, which will help make more challenging landing areas more accessible.

SLIM will aim to touch down within 328 feet (100 m) of its target point. This is crucial, as the mission is targeting a landing within Shioli Crater, a relatively fresh, 984-foot-wide (300 m) impact feature within Mare Nectaris, at 13 degrees south latitude and 25 degrees east longitude on the near side of the moon. ...continue reading