Japanese cubes send home photos from the far side of the moon • The log

Japan’s Equilibrium Lunar-Earth point 6U (EQUEELEUS) spacecraft, one of 10 cubic payloads aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft, has successfully transmitted images of the far side of the Moon to Earth.

According to the mission, the image was taken during a radio wave test run on Nov. 22 during a flyby of the lunar surface from about 3,448 miles (5,550 km).

A second tweet revealed more photos.

The lunar probe has been deployed to measure plasma in the Earth/Moon system and is equipped with an ultra-high-speed camera, ultraviolet telescope and dust sensor in its small 6U-cube body to do its job.

So far, the mission is showing all signs of performing well, unlike the other Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) 6U cubesat aboard Orion, Omotenashi, also known as Outstanding Lunar Exploration Technologies, demonstrated by the Nano Semi-Hard Impactor.

Omotenashi was intended to crash into the moon, and the landing was facilitated by an inflatable airbag and shock-absorbing system, studying the radiation of the lunar surface using a monitor and accelerometer.

The mission is designed to demonstrate the use of low-cost technology to land and explore the lunar surface.

Unfortunately, Cubesat radios were unresponsive after launch. According to JAXA, Omotenashi was unable to send commands to initiate a landing sequence during once in orbit it was in the correct position to engage its thruster.

Despite missing its chance to land on the moon, JAXA said Tuesday, Omotenashi will continue to perform radiometric measurements outside the Earth’s magnetosphere, a goal it can perform in flight along with technical demonstrations that don’t require a moon landing.

The Space Corporation has created a response team for Omotenashi that will investigate the cause of the failure and take future action. ®

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