It’s hard to land things on the moon. It’s even harder if you’re a private company, as Israel’s 2019 Beresheet mission demonstrated. Japan’s ispace hopes to become the first private company to successfully place an object on the moon and it’s happening this afternoon.
The mission is known as Hakuto-R and it’s a really big deal as far as space missions go. Locally, at least. South Africa will play a part in one of the missions hitching a ride on the Japanese company’s lander — the UAE’s Rashid Rover is on board and South Africa will be facilitating ground control communications. Assuming all goes well, of course.
Japan needs a little ispace
All the best space missions are live-streamed these days, even if something goes horribly wrong. Heck, that’s part of the fun (if you didn’t invest any time or money into the project). ispace is live streaming its landing attempt from 17h00 (15h00 GMT) this evening, in the event that you’d like to tune in to see history (or wreckage) made.
The lander is expected to touch down in the Atlas Crater in the Mare Frigoris, though this drop point (and the entire landing) is subject to change if it needs to be postponed for some reason.
In addition to the UAE’s lunar rover, there are two different Canadian missions on board the lander. One of these is an artificial intelligence system for a company called Mission Control and the other is an imaging system for a company called Canadensys Aerospace.
We’ve received another incredible photo from the camera onboard our Mission 1 lander!
Seen here is the lunar Earthrise during solar eclipse, captured by the lander-mounted camera at an altitude of about 100 km from the lunar surface. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/pNSI4lPnux
— ispace (@ispace_inc) April 24, 2023
Yesterday, the Japanese company behind this historic attempt posted images captured by Hakuto-R’s Mission 1 lander. The picture, seen in our header image above, shows a view of Earth as seen from lunar orbit. Hopefully, we’ll see some more information and imagery from a functioning lander and rover a little later today.