Japan’s moon lander took this eerie photo before being enveloped by lunar night

The SLIM lander has since gone dormant, and it may not survive the two-week-long lunar night.


Against all odds, Japan’s SLIM lander managed to turn back on more than a week after it plopped upside down onto the surface of the moon — but now, it’s gone dormant for the duration of the lunar night, and it may not be able to wake up again. The SLIM team from the Japanese space agency, JAXA, on Thursday shared the last image the lander captured at the moon’s Shioli crater before dusk, as night encroached. Lunar night lasts the equivalent of two Earth weeks and can get colder than -200 degrees Fahrenheit.

The team has confirmed that the solar powered lander is in a dormant state that will last at least the duration of the lunar night. Its chances of resuming operations afterward aren’t great, but then again, it’s already surprised us once. “Although SLIM was not designed for the harsh lunar nights, we plan to try to operate again from mid-February, when the Sun will shine again on SLIM’s solar cells,” the team wrote on X. If this truly is SLIM’s last photo, it sure is a spooky one.