NASA on Tuesday unveiled photos of the area of the Moon where a Japanese lander failed in what could have been the world's first lunar touchdown by a private space vehicle.
The images taken by the U.S. probe Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured at least four objects believed to be parts of the lander, a craft originally measuring 2.3 meters in height and 2.6 meters in width as developed by ispace Inc. based in Tokyo.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said in a Twitter post that the orbiter's camera has imaged the impact site of the Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander, "which experienced an anomaly on April 26 during its landing attempt."
NASA said the site "will be further analyzed over the coming months" as the orbiter has the opportunity to make additional observations of the area under various lighting conditions and from different viewing angles.
Launched in December aboard a rocket developed by U.S. firm SpaceX, the lander began descending from about 100 kilometers above the Moon's surface on April 26, Japan time.
The vehicle is believed to have fallen to the surface after it miscalculated the altitude and ran out of fuel before touchdown, according to the company.
Japan startup's lunar lander likely crashed after touchdown attempt
Japan startup lander may reach Moon on Apr. 26 in world 1st
Japan startup aiming to be world's 1st to reach Moon launches lander