Private Japanese lander sends 1st image from lunar orbit

Private Japanese lander sends 1st image from lunar orbit

Tokyo, March 30 (IANS) Japanese lunar exploration company ispace has sent back the first image of the Moon from lunar orbit, the company said.

HAKUTO-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander reached lunar orbit on March 20 and is expected to touch down on the Moon late next month.

“After last week’s successful lunar orbital insertion manoeuvre, this image of the Moon was captured by our lander-mounted camera during HAKUTO-R Mission 1”, the company wrote on Twitter.

It said more stunning views are awaited.

The image shows a sunlit section of the moon, taken by a lander-mounted camera, reported.

It showcases a range of brightly lit impact craters on the lunar surface against the dark backdrop of space. It also shows partially shadowed craters on the lunar limb, or edge of the moon’s visible disc.

So far no privately operated spacecraft has ever landed softly on the moon, besides those operated by NASA, Russia and China. If Hakuto-R is able to achieve the feat, it will deploy a tiny rover named Rashid for the United Arab Emirates’ space agency, the report said.

Another privately operated spacecraft orbiting the moon is CAPSTONE, a tiny cubesat operated for NASA by Colorado-based company Advanced Space. CAPSTONE arrived in a near-rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) around the Moon in November, last year.

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