According to the telemetry data, SLIM’s solar cells are facing west. So if sunlight begins to shine on the lunar surface from the west, there is a possibility of generating power, and we are preparing for recovery. #SLIM can operate with power only from the solar cells. #JAXA
— 小型月着陸実証機SLIM (@SLIM_JAXA) January 22, 2024
Despite the current power challenges, SLIM managed to transmit valuable technical and image data before the shutdown, including information from its descent and time on the lunar surface. “Until power was switched off after landing, the technical and image data acquired during the landing descent and on the lunar surface were successfully transmitted. We’re currently conducting a detailed analysis, and are relieved to see that we obtained a lot of data,” the space agency said in a post on social media platform X.
JAXA disconnected the battery at a 12% power level, a planned move to prevent over-discharge and preserve the possibility of reactivation. The agency expressed optimism that the lander might resume operations once the solar conditions on the moon change. Notably, the lunar day, lasting about 29.5 Earth days, presents a unique challenge for the lander. It must endure the extreme cold of the lunar night, which could reach -200 degrees, in hopes that the solar cells will receive enough sunlight to recharge once the lunar day resumes.
Despite these challenges, JAXA remains hopeful and is preparing for a potential recovery. Officials have expressed their satisfaction with the mission’s achievements so far, including the deployment of two small rovers and the collection of significant data. An update on the spacecraft’s status and further insights into its landing orientation are expected later this week.