JAPAN SAYS SLIM MOON PROBE ACHIEVED ‘PINPOINT’ LANDING Touchdown within 100 m (328 feet) of its target

Japan’s moon lander achieved an unusually precise touchdown within 100 m (328 feet) of its target, the space agency said on Thursday (January 25), after the nation became the fifth to put a spacecraft on the moon with the weekend touchdown of its SLIM probe.

“I believe that we have achieved something that no one has ever been able to do before, proving that you can get off where you want to get off, rather than just getting off where you can,” project manager for the lander, Shinichiro Sakai, told a press conference.

The landing with an error of less than 100 m (330 ft) by SLIM, dubbed the “moon sniper”, outstrips the conventional accuracy figure of several kilometres for lunar landers.

Japan hopes the demonstration of what it called a “pinpoint” moon landing will revitalise a space programme seeking to overcome setbacks as it moves to capture a bigger role in space by partnering with ally the United States to counter China.