XRISM Mission and SLIM Lander

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XRISM Mission and SLIM Lander Blog Image


Japan readies to launch a dual-purpose mission from one rocket, deploying SLIM to showcase precise moon landing techniques and XRISM for enhanced celestial analysis.

About XRISM Mission

  • The X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) is a joint mission of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), involving contributions from the European Space Agency (ESA) and Canadian Space Agency as well.
  • Objective: The mission aims to observe X-rays coming from deep space and to identify their wavelengths with unprecedented precision.
  • It will use state-of-the-art spectroscopy to measure changes in the brightness of celestial objects at different wavelengths.
  • It detects X-rays with energies ranging from 400 to 12,000 electron volts. (For comparison, the energy of visible light is 2 to 3 electron volts.)
  • This range will provide astrophysicists with new information about some of the universe's hottest regions, largest structures, and objects with the strongest gravity.
  • Instruments onboard: The mission has two instruments, Resolve and Xtend.
    • Resolve:
      • It is an instrument that will collect spectroscopic data with far more resolution than X-ray observatories orbiting the Earth do.
      • Resolve must be cooled to just a fraction above absolute zero in order to measure tiny changes in temperature when X-rays hit the instrument’s surface.
  • Xtend:
    • It will operate simultaneously to photograph the cosmos with a resolution comparable to the way our eyes might perceive it if we were to have X-ray vision. 
    • While Resolve zooms in, Xtend will zoom out, providing scientists with complementary views of the same X-ray sources over a larger area.


About SLIM

  • SLIM, or Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, is a compact robotic moon lander with no astronauts aboard.
  • Called ‘Moon Snipper’ in the Japanese language, it has lightweight equipment for advanced observations and adaptable landings on resource-scarce planets, advancing exploration strategies.
  • The most important aim of the lander is to demonstrate accurate lunar landing techniques with a precise touchdown. 
  • The mission plan calls for a landing no more than 328 feet (100 m) from a target inside the moon's Shioli Crater.


Q1) What are X-rays?

X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, just like visible light, radio waves, and microwaves. However, X-rays have much higher energy and shorter wavelengths compared to visible light. They were discovered in 1895 by German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, who named them "X-rays" because of their mysterious and unknown nature at the time.

Source: Japan Scrubs Launch of X-Ray Telescope and Experimental Moon Lander