Flames and smoke from a Japanese H2A rocket seen during a launch from the Tanegashima Space Center, in Tanegashima, Japan, 28 February 2014. EPA-EFE FILE/Bill Ingalls /NASA HANDOUT MANDATORY CREDIT: (NASA/Bill Ingalls) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Japan successfully launches research satellite

Tokyo, Sep 7 (EFE).- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Thursday successfully launched a rocket carrying a new research satellite to unravel the evolution of the universe and space-time.

The H2A rocket carrying the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) satellite and the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) was launched at 8.42 am local time (23:42 GMT Wednesday) from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima, and the first phases unfolded as planned without problems, according to the JAXA.

The mission was originally scheduled to launch at the end of August, but was postponed due to bad weather.

Thursday was the first launch of this magnitude from the island after the failed inaugural launch of the new generation H3 rocket in March, which, together with the recent failed missions to land modules on the moon, had been a blow for the Japanese space industry.

The XRISM satellite is a device intended to perform observations of hot gas plasma wind that blows through the galaxies in order to unravel the evolution of the universe and the structure of space-time.

The mission, led by Japan, is a joint project with the US’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

XRISM specializes in high-resolution X-ray spectroscopic observations of the movement of these hot gases to determine flows of mass and energy that help to understand the composition and evolution of celestial objects.

X-rays are released in the most energetic explosions and hottest places, including the masses of gas surrounding galaxy clusters.

The gas in galaxy clusters is a vestige of the birth and death of stars, so the study of the X-rays emitted by it would allow scientists to discover what elements it contains and to draw a map of how the universe was enriched by them.

The mission also aims to measure the X-ray light emitted by immensely dense objects, such as the large black holes found at the center of some galaxies, in order to help understand how space-time is warped around them and to what extent this influences their galaxies.

The SLIM lander is Japan’s new attempt to make its first successful moon landing.

The module is expected to enter the moon’s orbit in about three or four months and its landing attempt will take place in about four to six months.

The lander will attempt to touch down on the lunar surface near Shioli Crater, near the moon’s equator, in an attempt to make the most precise landing to date, according to JAXA.

It will take images that to be used in the Artemis lunar exploration project, which aims to facilitate the return of humans to the moon and, ultimately, the exploration of Mars.

If successful, Japan would be the fifth country to land a module on the moon, after the former Soviet Union, the US, Canada and India. EFE