Japan’s compact lander, officially called Smart Lander for Investigating the Moon (SLIM), is designed to land within 100 meters of a specific target on the Moon, much shorter than the normal range of several kilometers .
“Creating a SLIM lander will bring a qualitative change towards humans being able to land where we want, not just where it’s easiest to land,” JAXA said ahead of launch.
“Achieving this would make it possible to land on planets even more resource-poor than the Moon,” it said.
Globally, “there is no previous example of pinpoint landings on celestial bodies with significant gravity such as the Moon,” JAXA said.
India joined the United States, Russia and China in planting a spacecraft on the lunar surface and became the first country to do so at the south pole.