JAXA to Launch Small Landing Probe to Moon in FY 2021

Science Society Technology

Tokyo, Aug. 3 (Jiji Press)--The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, plans to launch a small lunar landing probe on an H-2A rocket in fiscal 2021.

The decision was reported during a meeting of the science ministry's task force on space development and utilization on Thursday.

The Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM, will be launched together with a successor model of the X-ray astronomy satellite Hitomi and will target a landing on a small crater in Mare Nectaris, an area located near the moon's equator on the side facing Earth.

According to Shinichiro Sakai, an associate professor at JAXA's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, it is highly possible for olivine from the moon's mantle to be exposed on the crater's surface.

While the theory that the moon was formed by a large object smashing into Earth about 4.5 billion years ago is widely accepted, Sakai said that the scenario can be tested by an analysis of components in detail of olivine from the moon and a comparison of the elements with materials from Earth's mantle.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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