Japan has joined what seems to be the modern day space race after it successfully launched its own rocket H2A in recent days headed for the moon. On board the rocket is a lander dubbed ‘The Moon Sniper’ so called due to its goal of pinpointing a landing zone rather than settling with a ‘rough area’ as is common with other moon landings. 

Technology on-board allows it to detect optimal landing conditions and locations, which includes intelligently detecting obstacles and objects in its path. Officially named the ‘Smart Lander for Investigating Moon’ or SLIM for short, once landed, the vessel intends to analyse its rocky compositions and help establish the moon’s origins.

If that wasn’t enough, also onboard the H2A rocket is a satellite with its entirely own mission. Equipped with state of the art x-ray imaging software, its mission is to delve into the mysteries of the far reaching universe by studying space phenomena such as plasma winds and black holes.

You can check out the rocket launch below covered by Reuters.

It follows on from India’s latest accomplishment of landing its own unmanned vessel on the moon and its subsequent mission intended for the sun. 

Japan’s mission on the other hand is going to be much slower with a time frame of four to five months before SLIM lands on the moon. Part of the reason is to test new landing capabilities, as well as more energy efficient trajectories which may prove invaluable in the future, namely NASA’s multi-national Artemis mission which intends to launch around 2025 and progress towards a permanent lunar station.

The Japan space agency is also planning future missions with India itself. In a few years time a joint mission aims to return to the moon for the purpose of exploring its water sources and whether there is a potential for sustainable activities. 

All-in-all space exploration and advancements are beginning to get very interesting.