Watch Japan's Ispace Attempt The First -Ever Commercial Moon Landing

waxing gibbous moon
A Japanese Company May Have Lost Its Lunar LanderBrais Seara
  • An attempt at the first private moon landing has gone awry.

  • Japanese company Ispace just attempted to become the first private company to have a successful lunar landing.

  • After losing contact with the lander during the landing process, the fate of the mission remains uncertain.

Japanese company Ispace attempted to be the first private company to achieve a successful Moon landing, but the landing does not appear to have gone as planned..

Ispace, which began as an entry into the Google Lunar X Prize competition, spent the morning of April 25 trying to get its Hakuto-R M1 lunar lander through a safe and successful touchdown on the surface of the Moon. Unfortunately, mission control in Tokyo has lost contact with the lander, which may signal the loss of the craft entirely and robs the company of the “first successful private lunar landing” title they were hoping for.

Investigations into the fate of the craft are still underway, but will likely take time.

The lander carried with it a few things, most notably a lunar rover from the United Arab Emirates called the Rashid lunar rover. According to a New York Times article, the M1 also carried along “a two-wheeled transformable lunar robot from JAXA, the Japanese space agency; a test module for a solid-state battery from NGK Spark Plug Company; an artificial intelligence flight computer; and 360-degree cameras from Canadensys Aerospace.”

While the result is disappointing to all involved, this does not mark the end of our new space race. In the first one several decades ago, it was all about governments going head to head to get people to the Moon first. But with the rapid advancements being made in the private space industry, it isn’t only governments getting in on the action anymore. As this new space race gets firmly underway, companies will be throwing their hats in the ring right along with countries.

The Ispace mission still marks one of the first steps toward companies developing profitable business models around shipping things to the Moon, either for scientific investigation or for attempts at commercial gain through avenues like product development.

In the future, we will likely see an increase in privatized space missions like this, even if it will be geared more towards objects than people for a while. Hopefully, the next one goes off without a hitch.

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