iSpace: Japanese Moon lander likely to have crashed

A Japanese company hoping to carry out a rare private Moon landing says it is likely its lunar lander crashed on the surface, the BBC reports.

Communication was lost with Hakuto-R moments before it was due to touch down at approximately 16:40 GMT on Tuesday.

Engineers are investigating what happened.

The Tokyo-based iSpace had hoped the lander would release an exploratory rover, as well as a tennis ball-sized robot developed by a toymaker.

The craft was launched by a SpaceX rocket in December, and took five months to reach its destination.

“We have not confirmed communication with the lander,” iSpace CEO Takeshi Hakamada said about 25 minutes after the planned landing.

“We have to assume that we could not complete the landing on the lunar surface,” he added.

Mr Hakamada later said that despite not expecting to complete the mission, the company had “fully accomplished the significance of this mission, having acquired a great deal of data and experience by being able to execute the landing phase.”

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