HAKUTO-R Moon Mission: Japan
A Japanese space startup ispace Inc has launched its own private lander M1 to the Moon under its HAKUTO-R mission, from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
- It is Japan’s first-ever lunar mission and the first of its kind by a private company.
- The name HAKUTO-R refers to the white rabbit that Japanese folklore suggests lives on the Moon.
- The M1 lander will deploy two robotic rovers, two-wheeled, orange-sized devices from Japan’s JAXA space agency and a four-wheeled Rover made by the UAE known as the Explorer Rashid, after the Dubai royal family patriarch.
- If the rover Rashid lands successfully, it will be the Arab world’s first Moon mission.
- So far only the Us, Russia and China have managed to put a robot on the lunar surface.
- It will also be carrying an experimental solid-state battery made by NGK Spark Plug Co, a Japanese-based spark plug company
- It is designed in such a way that it will use minimal fuel to save money and leave more room for cargo.
- It is taking a slow, low-energy path to the Moon, flying 1.6 million km (one million miles) from Earth before looping back and making a planned landing by the end of April.