A Japanese Moon explorer has resumed communication with Earth and also captured a new image of the lunar surface, the country's space agency said Monday, revealing that the craft unexpectedly survived the freezing lunar night following its landing last month.

"Last night, a command was sent to SLIM and a response received," the mission's team said in a post on X, referring to the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon that had been dormant after the touchdown area entered a period of darkness at the end of January.

The team had previously indicated that SLIM was not designed to endure the frigid lunar night, which lasts for around two weeks with temperatures plummeting to minus 170 C.

File photo shows Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM, (top R) on the Moon surface, taken on Jan. 20, 2024, by the SORA-Q tiny vehicle detached from the lander. (Copyright JAXA/Tomy Co./Sony Group Corp./Doshisha University)(Kyodo)

But SLIM has begun generating power as its solar panels are now receiving sunlight, and navigation camera operations resumed on Monday.

SLIM was confirmed to be operating as data was received after 7 p.m. on Sunday, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. But the temperature of some of its equipment has risen to above 100 C due to sunlight, and communication ended after a short time.

Once the temperature cools down, JAXA plans to confirm the craft's functionality, including that of a special camera capable of observing minerals on the Moon.

Japan landed the explorer on Jan. 20, becoming the fifth country to achieve the feat after the former Soviet Union, the United States, China and India. SLIM touched down around 55 meters from its target site, accomplishing JAXA's mission to land it with unprecedented precision.

Despite its initial failure to generate power, as its solar power panels were not properly facing the Sun, SLIM was able to resume its mission on the Moon and completed its planned tasks through Jan. 31.

India's third lunar exploration mission, Chandrayaan-3, which landed on the Moon in August last year, was unable to communicate following the lunar night.

Related coverage:

Japan's Moon explorer begins functioning again, resumes mission

NASA unveils images of Japan's SLIM moon probe after landing success

Japan lunar probe lands only 55 meters from target site: agency