JAPAN: The Hakuto-R moon lander, developed by the Japanese company Ispace, has returned a breathtaking, fresh image of the moon.
The spacecraft snapped a sunlit section of the lunar surface, displaying a range of brightly lit impact craters against the dark backdrop of space.
The image was shared on Twitter by iSpace following the spacecraft’s arrival in lunar orbit on March 20.
The image, captured by a lander-mounted camera, shows partially shadowed craters on the edge of the moon’s visible disc.
Hakuto-R launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on December 11, 2022. If all goes as planned, the spacecraft will land safely on the moon around the end of April.
The mission’s success would make Japan the fourth country to have a successful soft landing on the moon, after the United States, the Soviet Union, and China.
It would also be the first-ever landing on the moon by a privately operated spacecraft, marking a historic milestone in the global space race.
Ispace also shared that the spacecraft carries the tiny Rashid rover for the United Arab Emirates space agency. The company promised that more stunning views of the moon would come as it prepared for its landing attempt.
India and Israel both attempted a lunar landing in 2019 but failed. The Chandrayaan 2 lander by India and SpaceIL’s Beresheet faced issues during the landing attempts.
Ispace is also working on its second and third missions, targeting launches in 2024 and 2025.
The private space exploration company has secured multiple contracts with Japanese companies, intending to launch commercial missions to the moon.
Ispace was founded in 2010 to create a sustainable ecosystem on the moon. The company’s innovative technology and collaborations with international space agencies are taking it closer to achieving its mission.
The successful image capture by Hakuto-R has generated excitement among space enthusiasts and industry experts as it marks the beginning of a new era in the global space race.
The private space exploration industry is growing, with multiple companies striving to achieve groundbreaking milestones and advancements in space technology.
As the world continues to look towards space exploration, the success of the Hakuto-R mission will undoubtedly fuel further innovation and drive the global space industry forward.
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