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Spacefaring Japan Looks to Become the 5th Country to Land on the Moon This Month

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Mere months after India established itself as the fourth Lunar power, Japan is set to land on our nearest celestial body this month.

JAXA, or the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, has accomplished a number of hugely impressive spacefaring feats over the last three decades, including a sample-return mission from the Ryugu Asteroid, which has never been done before, even by the US.

Now, with their Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) entering Lunar orbit on Christmas Day, JAXA is poised for a January 19th descent onto the Lunar surface.

SLIM is “a mission for researching the pinpoint landing technology necessary for future lunar probes and verifying this on the surface of the moon with a small-scale probe,” JAXA officials wrote in a mission description.

The hope is that they will be able to land on a select point with an accuracy of 300 feet. The spacecraft left Earth on September 8th along with XRISM, a powerful X-ray telescope that remained in Earth’s orbit.

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