NASA manages to find the fragmented remains of the Japanese Hakuto-R lunar lander , which mysteriously disappeared on April 25.
A NASA spacecraft has found the wrecked remains of the Japanese Hakuto-R lunar lander , which mysteriously disappeared on April 25. The rover was found in at least four large pieces near its intended landing site as scientists used images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to locate it.
The images show the lander crashing into the moon’s surface at high speed, breaking into multiple pieces. The cause of the accident is still unknown. However, scientists believe that it could have been caused by a problem in the propulsion system.
The loss of Hakuto-R is a setback for the Japanese space program. However, scientists are still hopeful that they can learn from the experience and improve their future lunar missions.
The Hakuto-R lander was a privately funded project led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The probe was designed to land on the moon and deploy a rover to explore the surface. It was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan on April 4, 2023 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and was scheduled to land on the moon on April 25, 2023, losing signal during its final descent to the surface.
NASA scientists used images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to locate the wreckage of the lander. The images showed that the Hakuto-R crashed into the moon’s surface at high speed, breaking into multiple pieces. The cause of the accident is still unknown.
The Moon: graveyard of space vehicles
In September 2019, India’s Chandrayaan 2 mission attempted to land a lander on the Moon. However, the lander, named Vikram, lost communication with ground control during its final descent and crashed on the lunar surface. Vikram’s failure was a setback for India’s space program, but it did not stop the country from exploring the moon.
In April 2019, Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft also attempted to land on the Moon. However, the spacecraft lost communication with ground control during its final descent and crashed on the lunar surface. The failure of Beresheet was a disappointment for Israel, but it did not stop the country from pursuing its space ambitions.
The failures of Vikram and Beresheet were caused by technical problems. In Vikram’s case, the problem was probably a software bug. In the case of Beresheet, the problem was probably a hardware failure.
Despite that, both missions were significant achievements. Chandrayaan 2 was the first Indian mission to attempt to land on the Moon, and Beresheet was the first privately funded mission to attempt to land on the Moon. Both missions also helped advance our understanding of the Moon.