moon lander slim japan upside down
© AXA/TAKARA TOMY/Sony Group/Doshisha University/ReutersAn apparent thruster failure had the Japanese moon probe 'Slim' land safely but upside down on the lunar surface.
It seems to be the season of crazy - but ultimately successful - moon landings.

A couple of days ago, American Nova-C 'Odysseus' managed a historical moon landing for a private company - but ended up lying on its side.

Now, the original space oddity, the upside-down Japanese SLIM lander, has 'woken up' from its formant stage during a second freezing lunar night, to the surprise and delight of mission controllers on Earth.

Japan's first moon lander has responded to a signal from Earth in what has been hailed as a "miracle" by the country's space agency.

Sky News reported:
"The response, received late on Sunday, suggests the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) craft survived a second freezing weeks-long lunar night, when temperatures can plunge to -170C.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said it was a "miracle" because the probe was not designed to survive the lunar night.

The SLIM probe, dubbed the "moon sniper", made a "pinpoint" touchdown on 19 January - earning Japan a place in the history books as the fifth country to successfully place a probe on the moon."
A failure with one of the craft's thrusters meant it landed the wrong way up - with energy panels facing away from the sun.

As battery power dwindled, mission managers put the probe into hibernation after just three hours. The 'moon sniper' eventually regained power more than a week after the historic moon landing.

"JAXA said communication with the probe on Sunday was 'kept short' because it was still 'lunar midday' and SLIM was at a very high temperature - thought to be around 100C."

"Last night a command was sent to #SLIM and a response received, confirming the spacecraft has made it through the lunar night and maintained communication capabilities.

Communication with #SLIM was terminated after a short time, as it was still lunar midday and the temperature of the communication equipment was very high."

The agency is now preparing to make contact again, once the vehicle has cooled.

The mission has been considered a success, with 'Moon sniper' achieving the primary objective of landing the craft within a 100m diameter target zone.

"Hitoshi Kuninaka, the head of JAXA's research centre, said the SLIM probe's 100m target had 'most certainly achieved', according to initial data, though its specific location won't be known for a month."

A month after SLIM, a US lander successfully landed on the moon for the first time in more than 50 years.

"The Odysseus lander, the first ever privately-owned craft, arrived on the moon's surface after a nail-biting descent, landing closer to its south pole than any other craft in history."