Japan Restores Connection with Moon Lander

    Japan Restores Connection with Moon Lander
    Photo: APHOTOGRAFIA/Contributor/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has reconnected with its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) lunar spacecraft days after it touched the Moon's surface on Jan. 19.

    • Dubbed the "Moon Sniper," SLIM landed upside down 55 meters (180 feet) from its target, which left its solar panels facing away from the Sun and prompted it into power-saving mode.


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Japan has entered the space race in a grand fashion, setting aside billions of dollars for the next decade to boost its presence among the stars. As western nations seek to outpace Russia, China, and each other, Japan will be right there with them as it strengthens its national security and even competes in the private sector with the likes of SpaceX.

    Narrative B

    While Japan has certainly impressed the world with its recent space exploration endeavors, more must be done if Tokyo hopes to parallel the likes of China and the US. To achieve this, the government must incentivize more private entrepreneurship. Companies like ispace have gotten off to a solid start, but they will need more funding and space-launch infrastructure before becoming a realistic competitor on the world stage.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that a permanent human settlement will stay continuously on the Moon for at least one year by 2041, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


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