Japan’s Hakuto-R mission took an amazing photo with a unique view of Earth after launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The image was shared on the official Twitter page of Japanese space startup iSpace, which captured the tiny rover currently on its way to the Moon.
“The photo shows the Earth and the second stage of the SpaceX launch vehicle, taken about two minutes after undocking,” explains iSpace.
Hakuto-R will try to land on the surface of the Moon. If successful, it would be the first time Japan has reached another space body, and the first time a private space company has done so. So far, the national space agencies of the United States, the USSR, and China have successfully landed on Earth’s nearest neighbor over the past half century, but no private company has yet done so.
Ambitious mission plan Hakuto-R
The lander was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon rocket on December 11. About 19 hours after separation from the launch vehicle, the Hakuto-R spacecraft took the first images using the high-quality camera installed on board.
The project became a finalist of the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. The Hakuto-R device is designed to deliver cargo to the lunar surface. The orbit of our natural satellite will be reached in three months, after which the apparatus will try to make a soft landing in the Atlas Crater. The lander will also land the first-ever Arab rover Rashid on the Moon. The 10-kilogram device was built by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (UAE). It is designed to work for one lunar day.
The name Hakuto comes from Japanese folklore. This is the name of a white rabbit that lives on the Moon. The next year according to the Asian calendar is the Year of the Rabbit. The device, assembled in Germany, is expected to land on Earth’s satellite at the end of April.
We previously reported that Israel plans to land Bereshit-2 spacecraft on the Moon in 2024.