- Japanese space startup ispace Inc has launched its own private lander M1 to the Moon under its HAKUTO-R mission, from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
- It is Japan’s first-ever lunar mission and the first of its kind by a private company.
- The company designed its craft to use minimal fuel to save money and leave more room for cargo.
- It is taking a slow, low-energy path to the Moon, flying 1.6 million km (one million miles) from Earth before looping back and making a planned landing by the end of April.
- By contrast, NASA’s Orion crew capsule with test dummies took five days to reach the Moon last month. The lunar flyby mission is anticipated to end on 11th,December,2022 with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
- The name HAKUTO-R refers to the white rabbit that Japanese folklore suggests lives on the moon. The M1 Lander will deploy two robotic rovers from Japan’s JAXA space agency, a two-wheeled orangeshaped device and a four-wheeled rover named by the UAE after ‘Rashid’, the patron of the Dubai royal family. So far only America, Russia and China have been successful in sending robots to the surface of the Moon.
- Japan has entered into a contract with NASA to send payloads to the Moon from 2025 with the aim of building a permanently staffed lunar colony by 2040.
World’s first commercial moon lander launched by Japan’s ispace
Click here for more Current Affairs