Japan has successfully launched a rocket with an X-ray telescope to the origins of the universe and a small lunar lander.
Mission details: The HII-A rocket, launched from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, carries two main payloads.
* The X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) satellite will study the nature of intergalactic objects to improve the understanding of universe formation.
* In cooperation with NASA, JAXA will analyze light strength at different wavelengths, space temperature, and shapes and brightness of celestial bodies.
* A small, lightweight lunar lander, Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM), was also launched. It is expected to attempt lunar landing early next year.
Significance and goals: This mission aims to deepen our understanding of the universe and refine lunar landing technology.
* Depicting hot plasma’s distribution and dynamics, the XRISM can provide insight into black holes, the evolution of chemical elements, and the formation of galactic clusters.
* The SLIM’s development signifies JAXA’s effort in enhancing pinpoint landing technology. The Smart Lander is targeted to land within approximately 100 meters (330 feet) of its intended spot, promoting safer lunar landings.
Global lunar aspirations: The launch occurs as global interest in moon exploration resurfaces, with only four countries successfully landing on the moon until now.
* Last month, India made a successful lunar landing near the south pole, while Japan’s private company, ispace, had a failed attempt in April.
Mission history: Japan’s space program hasn’t been without challenges, with rocket launch failures reported earlier in the year.
* These issues have not hindered the country’s space ambitions, with Japan recently initiating its first astronaut recruitment in 13 years, indicating ambitions of sending a Japanese astronaut to the moon.
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