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Japanese Company's Lunar Lander Launches to the Moon


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An image of how the HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lunar lander might look on the surface of the Moon.

A secondary payload on the Falcon 9 is a small NASA mission, Lunar Flashlight, which is to enter an elliptical orbit around the Moon and use an infrared laser to probe the deep, dark craters at its polar regions.

Credit: ispace/AP

Another day, another rocket launch by SpaceX, and another spacecraft going to the moon. All those seem commonplace these days.

SpaceX has already launched its Falcon 9 rocket more than 50 times this year. NASA's Artemis I, an uncrewed test flight that is a precursor to future astronaut missions, returned to Earth after orbiting the moon. CAPSTONE, a small NASA-sponsored CubeSat, is still orbiting the moon after being launched in June. A robotic South Korean orbiter, Danuri, was launched to the moon in August.

But the lunar lander that was carried by a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Sunday is not a NASA mission. Instead, known as M1, it is from a small Japanese company, Ispace. The payloads on M1 include a rover from the United Arab Emirates and a small two-wheeled Transformers-like robot for the Japanese space agency.

From The New York Times
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