Japan's Hakuto-R Moon landing ends in silence
Japan's attempt to put a privately-owned spacecraft on the Moon appears to have ended in failure. Scheduled to land in the Mare Frigoris region at 16:40 GMT, the Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander lost contact with Mission Control in Nihonbashi, Tokyo shortly before the planned touchdown.
The exact fate of Hakuto-R still remains to be confirmed as engineers at ispace, the lunar resource development company that developed the lander, seek to establish contact or find evidence as to what happened. It's possible that the spacecraft landed but suffered a malfunction, or that there was a system failure during the descent and the vehicle crashed on the lunar surface.
Today's event marks the end of a four-month mission that began when Hakuto-R lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida atop a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket on December 11, 2022. The demonstrator spacecraft was privately owned, developed, and operated by ispace, but it also carried payloads for the Japanese government and international customers. These included the Rashid rover of the Emirates Lunar Mission and the JAXA/Tomy SORA-Q transformable lunar robot.
The video below recaps coverage of the landing attempt.