“We have proven that we can land not where we can, but where we want to land,” lander project manager Shinichiro Sakai said at a press conference. “This will lead to more and more people, preferably Japanese missions, attempting to land on unexplored parts of the moon.”
Although the mission accomplished its primary objective of landing, it encountered unexpected difficulties. An anomaly during descent caused the spacecraft’s solar panels to face away from the sun, limiting its power supply. Despite these setbacks, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) remains hopeful. The agency anticipates that the change in the sun’s angle will breathe new life into the lander, allowing it to resume its critical mission in the Sea of Nectar, and will temporarily deactivate the lander’s batteries to protect its functionality. It stopped.
The choice of a landing site near Shiori Crater was no accident. This place is more than just a dot on the moon. It’s a window into the Moon’s geological history. Although the crater is modest in size at about 880 feet in diameter, it is located near the much larger Theophilus Crater, which is more than 90 miles long. This proximity is not just a matter of distance, but has deep scientific significance.
Dr. Gordon Osinski, a professor of planetary geology at Western University and a member of the geology team for the Artemis III satellite mission, expressed enthusiasm about the mission’s choice of landing site, CNN reported. “When I was reading about this about a month ago, I was very excited to find out they had chosen this site,” he said. This excitement stems from the scientific potential of craters like Shioli. These act as natural excavation sites, revealing deeper layers of the moon’s surface and providing scientists with a rare opportunity to glimpse the moon’s subsurface without the need for excavation.
One of the mission’s most exciting prospects is the study of olivine, a mineral found in the area around Sioli Crater. The presence of olivine is particularly thrilling for scientists because it hints at the existence of the moon’s mantle, which has been difficult to sample directly with previous missions. “Every time you mention olivine, people’s eyes light up because it probably comes from the moon’s mantle, and we’ve never actually collected it in the field before.” Dr. Osinski added.
The accuracy of the mission’s landing is also attracting attention. The Moon Sniper lived up to its name, landing just 180 feet short of its target. This precision is not just a technical achievement. It represents a paradigm shift in the way lunar missions are conducted. Traditional lunar exploration has targeted landing areas spanning several kilometers. However, such a wide target zone limits potential landing sites to relatively safe and flat terrain, limiting the scientific value of the mission. Moon Sniper’s precise landing capabilities open the door to more diverse and topographically challenging lunar terrain, promising richer scientific outcomes.
The main focus of the mission, the Sea of Nectar, is a very interesting subject in itself. As one of the oldest landforms on the moon’s near side, it provides a unique opportunity to study the moon’s early history. Data collected from this region not only provides valuable insight into the Moon’s geological past, but given the common experience of these celestial bodies, there is the potential to draw parallels with Earth’s own history. There is also.
(Information provided by agency)