Japan’s moon lander took this eerie photo before being enveloped by lunar night


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Against all odds, Japan’s SLIM lander has managed to turn on again more than a week after it plopped upside down onto the surface of the moon — but now, it’s gone dormant for the duration of the lunar night, and it may not be able to wake up again. The SLIM team of the Japanese space agency is responsible for this mission. JAXA, on Thursday shared the last image the lander captured at the moon’s Shioli crater before dusk, as night encroached. The lunar night can last up to two Earth weeks, and it can be as cold as -200 degrees Fahrenheit.

The team confirmed that the solar-powered lander will remain in a dormant mode for at least the duration the lunar night. Its chances of resuming operations afterward aren’t great, but then again, it’s already surprised us once. “Although SLIM was not designed for the harsh lunar nights, we plan to try to operate again from mid-February, when the Sun will shine again on SLIM’s solar cells,” the team wrote on X. If this truly is SLIM’s last photo, it sure is a spooky one.

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