Japan has become the fifth country in history to land on the moon thanks to its successful precise landing attempt for its lunar probe, the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM).
Nicknamed the “moon sniper,” SLIM made a significant improvement above traditional accuracy by landing within 100 meters of its target. From 15 kilometers above the moon’s surface, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started an autonomous 20-minute fall.
For future exploration of the moon’s mountainous poles, which may be rich in oxygen, fuel, and water—elements necessary for supporting life—SLIM’s landing technology is considered critical. Up to one month is what JAXA expects to take to verify SLIM’s successful high-precision landing.