JAXA gives up on landing Omotenashi probe on moon

Courtesy of JAXA
Image of the supersmall probe “Omotenashi”

Tokyo (Jiji Press) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, has abandoned its plan for its Omotenashi supersmall probe to land on the moon, originally scheduled for the early hours of Tuesday, the agency said.

JAXA said that it was unable to adjust the probe’s trajectory as necessary to land on the moon, due to unsuccessful attempts to restore communication with the probe.

Omotenashi, measuring 11 centimeters by 24 centimeters by 37 centimeters, was launched aboard a U.S. Space Launch System rocket on Nov. 16.

After separating from the rocket, Omotenashi had issues with adjusting its position as it rotated at a speed that was faster than expected. As a result, its solar cells were unable to face the sun, leaving the probe unable to secure enough power.

JAXA had been working on correcting the probe’s trajectory until the small hours of Tuesday, but ultimately gave up on the moon landing plan as it failed to restore communication with the probe.

The agency said that it will continue restoration efforts to enable the probe to conduct missions other than the moon landing, such as measuring radiation.