ScienceNASA uncovers shattered remains of Japanese lunar lander that...

NASA uncovers shattered remains of Japanese lunar lander that mysteriously disappeared on April 25

A NASA spacecraft has spotted the Japanese lunar lander Hakuto-R, which crashed into the moon’s surface on April 25. Photo evidence confirms that the craft came to rest near its intended landing site in at least four large pieces. 

Hakuto-R, the brainchild of the Japanese space company ispace, was set to become the first private lunar lander to successfully touch down on the moon, but it unexpectedly lost communication with ground control during its final descent. After several failed attempts to reestablish communication, ispace’s team concluded that the spacecraft had suffered a “hard landing,” impacting the moon rather than landing gently. 

The next day, April 26, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) passed over Hakuto-R’s landing site, snapping 10 images. Scientists compared these images with previous photos of the region in hopes of pinpointing the Japanese lander’s final resting place.

Before and after images comparing the crash site. Arrow A points to a prominent surface change. Arrows B-D point to other changes around the impact site. (Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

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