Found the “grave” of the Japanese lander “Hakuto-R” on the Moon

The NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has discovered the crash site of the private Japanese lander Hakuto-R, which failed last month when trying to land on the surface of the Moon. The LRO photo shows individual pieces of debris scattered over a large area.

The crash site of the private Japanese lunar vehicle “Hakuto-R”, as seen from the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter the day after the landing attempt. Authorship: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

The Hakuto-R lander, which carried a small rover from the United Arab Emirates on board, attempted to land on April 25, 2023, with the aim of landing in the Atlas crater. However, communication with the spacecraft was suddenly lost a few minutes before the expected landing. Later, the space team that accompanied the lander confirmed that the lander was unable to land safely on the surface and probably crashed on the surface of the Moon. Now the place of the probable crash has been discovered in the pictures.

Comparison of the crash site of the private Japanese lunar lander “Hakuto-R”, which tried to land on April 25, 2023, before and after. Arrow A indicates a noticeable change on the surface with more reflectivity in the upper left corner and less reflectivity in the lower right corner. Arrows B-D indicate other changes around the crash site. Source: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

On April 26, LRO received 10 images around the landing site using NAC cameras, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) scientific team began searching for the lost lander. Images released by the LROC team on May 23 show at least four notable debris on the moon’s surface.

If successful, the Hakuto-R of the Tokyo-based iSpace company would become the first private spacecraft and the first Japanese-made spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Moon. 

Japanese Hakuto-R spacecraft in orbit around the Moon (concept). Source: iSpace

Despite the failure, iSpace is already working on getting back to the Moon and landing. The company is working on its second and third lunar missions, scheduled for 2024 and 2025, respectively.

Earlier we reported how the Hakuto-R mission sent a “deathbed” photo.

According to Space

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