A Japanese company on Tuesday became the first company to put a lander on the surface of the moon. Only a few countries have ever succeeded, but no commercial organization has ever succeeded. It went well for a long time, until just before landing. Then the signal with the ispace lander was lost.
And so ispace founder Takeshi Hakamada spoke to the press with disappointment. “We have lost contact with the lander and are now investigating its status,” he said. Hakamada said he believed the landing had “probably failed.” “However, we are very proud of what we have achieved in this process so far.” A few hours later, ispace confirmed that the landing had failed: “A successful landing on the moon and establishing communications is no longer feasible,” the company said in a statement.
The lander has been orbiting the moon since last month, about 100 kilometers above the surface. The landing started around 5.40 pm Dutch time on Tuesday. The probe slowed down and therefore slowly sank down. About an hour later, he came to a few meters above the lunar surface, as Hakamada and other attendees saw on a large screen through a simulation. At the moment of landing, however, the image of the simulation disappeared: contact with the lander had been lost.
The Japanese ispace eventually wants to mine raw materials and water on the moon. That could help build a manned base on the moon. Mission 1 of the Hakuto-R project is to test the design and technology.
An unmanned reconnaissance from the United Arab Emirates accompanied the lander. If the landing is successful, the Rashid cart will have to drive around the moon for about two weeks to conduct scientific research with cameras and sensors. Rashid weighs about 10 kilos, is over 50 centimeters long and wide, and about 70 centimeters high.
The lander and orbiter were launched in December. To save fuel, they took a long detour to the moon. The gravity of the Earth and the sun pushed the craft to its destination. It came as far as 1.5 million kilometers from Earth along the way, four times as far away as the moon. Due to the long route, the flight took months, not a few days at the most.
So far, only the United States, the Soviet Union/Russia and China have managed to land safely on the moon. Attempts by Israel and India failed.
The United States wants to allow people to walk on the moon again in a few years, for the first time since 1972. The country is receiving help from Canada, Europe and Japan. The intention is that people will also stay on the moon this time, and eventually travel on to Mars.
Check out our most viewed news videos in the playlist below:
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and don’t miss a thing of the stars.