Japan's SLIM lunar probe, which failed to land perfectly last week, has sent back a historic photo of itself. The device was picked up by the accompanying small spacecraft LEV-2, and the SLIM apparently flipped over due to a mishap during landing and came to rest with its feet up.
JAXA's SLIM probe (the name translates to Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) arrived at the Moon on Christmas and landed on Friday, January 19. With this successful landing, Japan became the fifth country to reach the moon with its own equipment, after the United States, the Soviet Union, China and India. Problems appeared immediately after the operation. It turned out that the module's solar cells were not producing power – from the photo of the small lunar module, it was clear that this was due to the lander standing upside down.
SLIM is functional, albeit silent. Earth controllers hope that on February 1, as the sun sets on the moon, it may receive enough energy to return to life.
After all, LEV-2, or SORA-Q, a small spherical probe developed by Dusa University, Sony and Transformers toy maker Takara Tomy, is the first Japanese-made device to send back images of the lunar surface.
The last time a Japanese device attempted to land on the Moon was in April last year, the module called Hakuto-R finally crashed onto the surface – interestingly, this ill-fated mission also took the SORA-Q rover with it.