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A revolutionary satellite will reveal celestial bodies in a new light, and the Moon Sniper lander prepares for launch.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, is expected to launch the XRISM mission, known as “Crisis,” from Japan on Sunday night.
The satellite, also called the X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy mission, is a joint mission of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NASA, with participation from the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
And along for the ride is the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s SLIM vehicle, or Smart Lander to explore the moon. This small-scale exploration lander is designed to demonstrate “marked” landings at a specified location within a distance of 100 meters (328 feet), rather than the typical kilometer range, by relying on high-precision landing technology. The accuracy led to the mission’s nickname, Moon Sniper.
The launches have already been rescheduled twice due to bad weather, and the agency now plans to launch XRISM and SLIM aboard an H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center at 8:26 p.m. ET on Sunday, or 9:26 a.m. JST. on monday.
The event will be broadcast live JAXA YouTube channelBroadcasts are offered in both English and Japanese. The live broadcast will begin at 7:55 p.m. ET on Sunday.
The satellite and its instruments will monitor the hottest regions in the universe, the largest structures and objects with the strongest gravity, according to NASA. XRISM will detect X-ray light, a wavelength invisible to humans.
Study of stellar explosions and black holes
X-rays are released from some of the most energetic objects and events in the universe, which is why astronomers want to study them.
“Some of the things we hope to study with XRISM include the effects of stellar explosions and jets of near-light-velocity particles fired by supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies,” said Richard Kelly, principal investigator for XRISM at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. in Greenbelt, Maryland in a statement. “But of course, we are very excited about all the unexpected phenomena that XRISM will discover as it observes our universe.”
Compared to other wavelengths of light, X-rays are so short that they pass through dish-shaped mirrors that monitor and collect visible, infrared and ultraviolet light such as the James Webb and Hubble Space Telescopes.
With that in mind, XRISM contains thousands of individual, curved interfering mirrors that are better designed for X-ray detection. The satellite will need to calibrate for a few months once it reaches orbit. The mission is designed to run for three years.
Meanwhile, SLIM will use its propulsion system to head toward the Moon. The spacecraft will reach lunar orbit about three to four months after launch, orbit the moon for one month, and begin descent and attempt a soft landing four to six months after launch.
Unlike other recent lander missions aimed at the lunar south pole, SLIM is targeting a site near a small lunar impact crater called Xiuli, near the Sea of Nectar, where it will investigate the formation of rocks that may help scientists uncover their origins from the Moon. The landing site is just south of the Sea of Tranquility, where Apollo 11 landed near the Moon’s equator in 1969.
After the United States, the former Soviet Union and China, India became the fourth country to carry out a controlled landing on the moon’s surface when its Chandrayaan-3 mission arrived near the moon’s south pole on Wednesday. Previously, Japan’s Ispace company’s Hakuto-R lunar lander fell 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) before crashing into the moon during a landing attempt in April.
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