Japanese lunar exploration business ispace just released a stunning photo of the moon. The photo was taken by the Hakuto-R lander, which was sent into lunar orbit on March 20, 2023. The image, which was captured by a camera installed on a lander, shows a sunny region of the moon with a variety of highly lighted impact craters on its surface against the black background of space.
On December 11, 2022, the Hakuto-R spacecraft was launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It took an elongated, highly energy-efficient route to the moon, and is expected to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface by the end of April 2023. If successful, Japan will become the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the moon, joining the United States, Russia, and China.
The Japanese company took to Twitter and shared the image while announcing the successful lunar orbital insertion maneuver. It also promised more stunning views in the future as it prepares for the upcoming landing attempt. In addition to its own mission, Hakuto-R carries the Rashid rover for the United Arab Emirates’ space agency.
The Hakuto-R Mission 1 Lunar Lander’s primary goal is to explore the moon’s surface and collect valuable data, while also paving the way for future lunar missions. The Rashid rover, which will be deployed if the landing is successful, is designed to explore the lunar surface and conduct experiments, further expanding our understanding of Earth’s natural satellite.
The stunning image captured by Hakuto-R underscores the advancements in lunar exploration and the potential for privately operated spacecraft to contribute significantly to our understanding of the moon. As ispace and other companies continue to develop and launch missions, we can expect more captivating images and valuable scientific data to emerge from these lunar endeavors.