Moon’s shadow falls to Earth: Hakuto-R mission sends “deathbed” photo

Before the crash of the Hakuto-R mission, the Japanese private company iSpace published a photo taken during a hybrid solar eclipse on April 20. On that day, the Moon passed through the Sun from the point of view of the Earth, casting a noticeable shadow on our planet.

The Moon’s shadow on the Earth’s surface in a stunning image taken by Hakuto-R from lunar orbit. Photo: iSpace

“Seen here is the lunar Earthrise during the solar eclipse, captured by the lander-mounted camera at an altitude of about 100 km (60 miles) from the lunar surface,” iSpace representatives wrote on Twitter.

The photo was supposed to complement the historic landing of the spacecraft on the Moon. But Hakuto-R suddenly stopped communicating a few seconds before the lunar landing. The spacecraft probably crashed during landing.

Loss of communication with Hakuto-R

The Hakuto-R spacecraft launched in December 2022 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and orbited the Moon before landing. The rendezvous sequence included several stages to save fuel. Atlas crater, located on the southeastern outer edge of the Mare Frigoris, was chosen as the lunar landing site.

The descent first took place in normal mode. But suddenly, in the last seconds before landing, when the Hakuto-R was at an altitude of 80 m, contact with it was lost. At that moment, the spacecraft was moving at a speed of more than 30 km/h. ISpace tried to restore communication, but to no avail. The lander probably crashed on the surface. A lot of attention was focused on the event, because if successful, iSpace would have become the first private company in history to land its spacecraft on the Moon.

Earlier we reported how the Japanese Hakuto-R spacecraft sent an amazing image from the orbit of the Moon.

According to Space.

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