Japan’s Moon probe regains power after landing upside-down nine days ago

A photograph taken of the SLIM probe on the Moon’s surface by the LEV-2 robot.
SLIM landed close to its target, but engine troubles during the descent saw the lander flipped upside-down and unable to properly recharge its solar batteries. | Image: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) has been resurrected, over a week after the probe ran out of electricity following its troubled lunar touchdown on January 20th, leaving it upside-down and its solar panels pointing in the wrong direction. On Monday, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced that communication with the SLIM spacecraft had been re-established, and operations to hunt for clues about the Moon’s origins had resumed.

JAXA had predicted that a change in sunlight direction could allow the probe’s battery to be recharged from its awkwardly angled solar panels. It’s unclear how long this power will last — the agency previously said that SLIM was not designed to survive a lunar night, which will next…

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