The robotic Mission 1 spacecraft from Ispace likely crashed on its way to the lunar surface on Tuesday. It was a setback for the private Japanese space company and cost customers trying to land on the moon several valuable payloads.
Two countries – Japan and the United Arab Emirates – will lose their respective countries’ first robotic probes to the moon.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency JAXA plans to test Two-wheeled transformable lunar robot, a small sphere with a camera for surface observation. Data from the device will be used to help design a manned pressurized rover that will allow transportation on the lunar surface during future astronaut missions.
Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center is part of the United Arab Emirates’ increasingly active space programme, sending Rashid, a small rover used to explore the landing site. The rover is set to “study the properties of lunar soil, the moon’s geology, dust movement and surface plasma environment,” According to NASA.
It is the first Arab-built lunar spacecraft launched into space and contains materials that make it “the first European technology to come into contact with the lunar surface,” the European Space Agency said in a release.
Other payloads include a solid-state battery test module from Japan’s NGK Spark Plug, an artificial intelligence flight computer and a 360-degree camera from Canadian aerospace contractor Canadensys Aerospace.