- On Thursday, Japan launched a lunar exploration spacecraft in hopes of becoming the fifth country in the world to land on the moon.1
- The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency said the H-IIA rocket carrying the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) took off from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.2
- Nicknamed the 'moon sniper,' SLIM is designed to land within 100m (328ft) of a specific target on the moon — significantly more accurate than the usual range of several kilometers.3
- The XRISM satellite, a second payload launched on the same rocket, is expected to perform 'high-resolution X-ray spectroscopic observations' of hot gas plasma blowing through the universe.4
- Japan's lunar mission, expected to start its landing maneuvers by February, comes days after India's successful soft landing of its spacecraft on the moon's south pole in August.5
- Thursday's launch comes after multiple failed attempts, including last year when a probe called Omotenashi was under the US program known as Artemis.3
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by CBS. If this landmark mission touches down on the moon, it will mark a turning point in advanced optical and image processing technology. The success of Japan's mission will make it possible for humans to land on planets even more resource-scarce than the moon.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Iet. Countries worldwide spend billions of dollars on space exploration, but very little is achieved. Our planet faces many existential issues, such as climate change, that would be a better use of the time, money, and effort spent studying and exploring space.