The Japanese challenge of becoming the fifth country to land on the Moon will have to wait. Your cubesat has dropped communication.
The mission Artemis I of the POT is about to reach the Moon. One of his tasks was to free the cubesat Japanese OMOTENASHIwhich was to become the smallest ship to land on the moon. But it can’t be: JAXA has lost communication with it, and it is considered lost.
NASA’s Artemis I mission aims to take a ship with several dummies loaded with sensors to the Moon, with the intention of measure radiation and the forces that the astronauts will experience.
The ship Orion it will go around the Moon several times, and will return in a few days. On this NASA website you can see in real time where it is now. At the time of writing this news, it was 62,000 kilometers from the Moon.
Japan’s Artemis I mission fails
In addition to the main mission, the Orion ship carries out various international missions. transports three cubesats from NASA itself, from the Italian space company Argotec, and from the Japanese space agency JAXA.
A cubesat is a shoebox-sized satellite that can accomplish many kinds of tasks. The cubesat Japanese is called OMOTENASHIan acronym for “Extraordinary Moon Exploration Technologies Demonstrated by Semi-Hard Nano-Impactor”, but is also a Japanese word meaning “hospitality”, “gentleness” or “mindfulness”,
The cubesat ometenashi He has been the first to leave the Orion ship, because he was the only one with a very important objective: land on the moon.
The ometenashi it has a cubic part, and a kind of inflatable balloon at the top, as you can see in the opening photo of the news. During the landing the balloon inflates, the cubical part detaches, and a small capsule lands gently on the Moon. Here you can see the sequence:
Unfortunately, the Japanese space agency, JAXA, has confirmed that, moments before initiating the landing sequence, they have lost communication with OMOTENASHI, and they no longer hope to recover it.
The failure of the mission is a blow to Japan, which aspired to become a the fifth country to land a probe on the Moonafter the United States, Russia, China and India.
It is also a disappointment for science in general, because OMOTENASHI had an important mission: to prove a cheap lunar landing system so that small probes can carry materials to the Moon. This will be key when the first lunar colony is established.
The probe japanese OMOTENASHI has not been able to fulfill its mission in the Artemis Ibut the main mission passes without incident, and the other two cubesat it carries are waiting to start their mission. Neither of them will land on the Moon.