Smart Lander for Investigating Moon

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Smart Lander for Investigating Moon
Mission typeLunar lander
Mission duration2-3 weeks in lunar orbit, several days on lunar surface (planned) [1]
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass590 kg [1]
Dry mass120 kg [2]
Dimensions1.5 × 1.5 × 2 m (4 ft 11 in × 4 ft 11 in × 6 ft 7 in) [1]
Start of mission
Launch dateAugust 2023 (planned)[3]
RocketH-IIA 202
Launch siteTanegashima Space Center
ContractorMitsubishi Heavy Industries

Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) is a lunar lander being developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The lander will demonstrate precision landing technology.[4] By 2017, the lander was planned to be launched in 2021,[2][5] but this has been subsequently delayed to 2023 due to delays in SLIM's rideshare mission, X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM).[3]


SLIM will be Japan's first lunar surface mission, and will demonstrate precise, pinpoint lunar landing. During its descent to the Moon, the lander will recognize lunar craters by applying technology from facial recognition systems, and determine its current location from utilizing observation data collected by the SELENE (Kaguya) lunar orbiter mission. SLIM aims to soft land with an accuracy range of 100 m (330 ft).[5][6][7] In comparison, the accuracy of the Apollo 11 Eagle lunar module was an elliptic which was 20 km (12 mi) wide in downrange and 5 km (3.1 mi) wide in crossrange.[2] According to Yoshifumi Inatani, deputy director general of the JAXA Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), by succeeding in this extremely precise landing, it will lead to enhancing the quality of space exploration.[8]

SLIM is planned to be launched together with the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) space telescope, and is to land near the Marius Hills Hole,[9] a lunar lava tube entrance discovered by Kaguya.[10] The expected cost for developing this project is 18 billion yen.[11]


The SLIM team assessed in the past the inclusion of a small rover in this mission. A preliminary concept considered a rover with two inflatable wheels that would enter — or drop into — the lava tube while deploying miniature communication relay devices along the traverse.[12] Other concepts suggested developing a miniature rover without wheels but able to "hop" along.[13][14][15]

Lunar Excursion Vehicle 2 (LEV-2), a tiny rover developed by JAXA in joint cooperation with Tomy, Sony Group, and Doshisha University, will be mounted on SLIM.[16]


The proposal which later came to be known as SLIM existed as early as back in 2005, as the Small Lunar Landing Experiment Satellite (小型月着陸実験衛星).[17] On 27 December 2013, ISAS called for proposals for its next "Competitively-Chosen Medium-Sized Focused Mission", and SLIM was among the seven proposals submitted.[2] In June 2014, SLIM passed the semi-final selection along with the DESTINY+ technology demonstration mission, and in February 2015 SLIM was ultimately selected.[18] From April 2016, SLIM gained project status within JAXA.[19] In May 2016, Mitsubishi Electric (MELCO) was reportedly awarded the contract for building the spacecraft.[20] SLIM is scheduled to be the second Japanese lunar lander to operate from the Moon's surface; on 27 May 2016 NASA announced that the OMOTENASHI (Outstanding Moon exploration Technologies demonstrated by Nano Semi-Hard Impactor) CubeSat lander jointly developed by JAXA and the University of Tokyo will be launched as a secondary payload on Space Launch System (SLS) Artemis 1. OMOTENASHI was meant to deploy a mini lunar lander weighing 1 kg, however on 21 November 2022, JAXA announced that attempts to communicate with the spacecraft have ceased, due to the solar cells failing to generate power because of them facing away from the Sun.[21] They won’t face towards the Sun until March 2023.

In 2017, because of funding difficulties arising m from XARM (XRISM)'s development cost, SLIM's launch was switched from a dedicated Epsilon flight to a rideshare H-IIA flight.[22] The resulting cost savings will be transferred to develop other satellites that are behind schedule due to XRISM.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "小型月着陸実証機(SLIM)プロジェクト移行審査の結果について" (PDF) (in Japanese). JAXA. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "小型探査機による高精度月面着陸の技術実証(SLIM)について" (PDF) (in Japanese). 3 June 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Missions of Opportunity (MO) in Development – X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM)". GSFC. NASA. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  4. ^ "SLIMについて". SLIM homepage (in Japanese). Retrieved 23 June 2016. ... 従来の「降りやすいところに降りる」着陸ではなく、「降りたいところに降りる」着陸へ ...'("Landing will be 'Get off where you want to get off' instead of 'Get off where you can easily get off'")
  5. ^ a b Hongo, Jun (12 November 2015). "Japan Plans Unmanned Moon Landing". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  6. ^ "Small lunar-lander "SLIM" for the pinpoint landing technology demonstration" (PDF). 9 June 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  7. ^ "[PPS26-10] Introduction of SLIM, a small and pinpoint lunar lander". 30 April 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  8. ^ "JAXAはどのような構想を描いているのか…スリム計画を関係者に聞く". The Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). 11 May 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  9. ^ Haruyama, Junichi; Sawai, Shujiro; Nakatani, Kouji (7 March 2012). "SLIMが目指す月の縦穴。縦穴探査に期待される科学" (PDF) (in Japanese). JAXA Institute of Space and Astronautical Science. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 January 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  10. ^ "JAXA、無人機で月着陸へ−小型探査機「SLIM」を18年度に打ち上げ". Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (in Japanese). 21 April 2015. Archived from the original on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  11. ^ "日本初の月面着陸機、今年から開発スタート 「世界に先駆け高精度技術目指す」". The Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). 1 January 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  12. ^ The Tiny Rover Payload of the SLIM Mission JAXA 2015
  13. ^ [1] ISAS, JAXA page 10
  14. ^ A new mechanism of smart jumping robot for lunar or planetary satellites exploration Kent Yoshikawa, Masatsugu Otsuki 2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference
  15. ^ [2] ISAS JAXA 2018
  16. ^ Hirano, Daichi (7 October 2022). "Palm-Sized Lunar Excursion Vehicle 2 (LEV-2)". JAXA. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  17. ^ Hashimoto, Tatsuaki (30 November 2005). "小型月着陸実験衛星" (PDF) (in Japanese). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  18. ^ "深宇宙探査技術実証機 DESTINY+" (PDF) (in Japanese). 7 January 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  19. ^ "ISASニュース 2016.5 No.422" (PDF) (in Japanese). Institute of Space and Astronautical Science. 27 May 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Japanese lunar lander to be built by Mitsubishi Electric". Nikkei Asian Review. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  21. ^ "小型衛星を月へ打ち上げ JAXA・東大、着陸にも挑戦 18年に2基". The Nikkei (in Japanese). 28 May 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  22. ^ a b "小型ロケット「イプシロン」、政府が19年度の打ち上げ1機中止". The Nikkei (in Japanese). 27 August 2017. Retrieved 4 October 2017.

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