Japan managed to "wake up" its lander stuck sideways on the Moon

Japan's unmanned lunar lander woke up after experiencing a second cold lunar night and transmitted new images back to Earth, the country's space agency said. "We received a response from SLIM last night and confirmed that SLIM has successfully completed its second overnight operation," the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said on X about its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) probe, AFP reported.

"As the sun was still high in the sky last night and the equipment was still hot, we recorded images of the usual scenery with the navigation camera, among other activities, in a short period of time," the agency added. A black-and-white photo of the crater's rocky surface accompanied the X post. The SLIM lander touched down in January at an uneven angle, which left its solar panels facing in the wrong direction. About three hours after landing - making Japan only the fifth nation to land on the moon - JAXA decided to shut down SLIM with 12% power remaining to allow for a possible resumption later. As the sun's angle shifted, the lander came back to life in late January for two days and made scientific observations of a crater with a high-specification camera.

But the spacecraft was not designed for the freezing two-week lunar nights when temperatures drop to minus 133 degrees. So, space agency scientists had reason to celebrate when it was successfully revived in late February after its first lunar night. JAXA dubbed SLIM the "Lunar Sniper" because of its precision landing technology. The goal of the mission is to explore a portion of the moon's mantle - typically the deep inner layer beneath its crust that is thought to be accessible.

The news came after an unmanned U.S. lander, Odysseus, the first private spacecraft to successfully land on the moon, failed to wake up, its manufacturer announced Saturday. /BGNES