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NASA Discovers Evidence of Japanese Lunar Lander Crash on the Moon, Weeks After Craft Went Missing

NASA has made a groundbreaking revelation and a significant discovery, finding evidence of a Japanese lunar lander crash on the Moon.

Lunar Lander
Credit: iSpace Inc.

In April 2023, NASA‘s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured images of debris confirming the “hard landing” of the Japanese lunar lander called HAKUTO-R Mission 1.

The privately-funded spacecraft, launched by the company iSpace, was intended to land in the moon’s Atlas crater but experienced a rapid increase in descent speed and lost contact with Mission Control.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s camera team identified an “unusual surface change” near the intended landing site, including four prominent pieces of debris and alterations in the lunar surface that could indicate a small crater or remnants of the lander. NASA plans to further analyze the site over the coming months, utilizing different lighting conditions and angles to gather more information.

Despite this setback, iSpace has future plans to continue lunar exploration. The company aims to develop a lunar economy and infrastructure that will support NASA’s Artemis program and facilitate easier access to the moon’s surface. Their lunar exploration program includes another lander scheduled to carry a rover to the moon in 2024, with a third mission being planned. ispace envisions offering high-frequency transportation to the lunar surface to support scientific, exploration, and technology demonstration missions, with the goal of providing two to three missions per year after 2025.

iSpace, led by founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada, remains committed to its vision of establishing a sustainable lunar presence and contributing to the development of a lunar economy. Despite the setback of the HAKUTO-R Mission 1, the company sees it as a valuable learning experience that will inform their future missions.

The upcoming lander and rover mission scheduled for 2024 holds promise for iSpace’s lunar exploration program. This mission aims to further advance scientific understanding and exploration capabilities on the moon. By deploying rovers and conducting experiments, iSpace hopes to gather crucial data that will contribute to humanity’s understanding of the lunar environment and potential resources.

Looking ahead, iSpace envisions expanding its operations and offering regular missions to the lunar surface. With the goal of multiple missions per year after 2025, they seek to establish a reliable and efficient transportation system to support various scientific and technological endeavors.

The company’s efforts align with NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the moon and establish sustainable lunar exploration by leveraging international partnerships and private sector involvement. Collaboration between NASA and private entities like iSpace has the potential to revolutionize space exploration and open new opportunities for scientific research, resource utilization, and human expansion beyond Earth.

As iSpace continues its mission to unlock the potential of the moon, they remain dedicated to pushing boundaries, fostering innovation, and making significant contributions to our understanding of the universe. The challenges encountered along the way serve as valuable lessons that will shape the future of lunar exploration and pave the way for a sustainable human presence on the moon.

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