New images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) appear to show the crash site where the Japanese Hakuto-R Mission 1 lunar lander impacted the surface of the Moon a month ago.
The refrigerator-sized HAKUTO-R was built by the startup company iSpace and was launched in December 2022 with the goal of becoming the first commercial lunar lander to touch down safely on the Moon. However, during landing operations on April 25, 2023, communications ceased just moments before touchdown should have occurred, and the lander was presumed lost.
The Hakuto-R lunar lander, currently in orbit around the Moon, just captured a beautiful “Earthrise”-like image, and one with an interesting side note. The Mission 1 lander, from the Tokyo-based commercial company ispace, took the image during the time of the April 20 solar eclipse, where totality was visible in Australia; and so the photo includes a perfect view of the shadow of the Moon passing above the Land Down Under.
The spacecraft was approximately 100 km (60 miles) above the lunar surface when it took the photo.