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Top Asian News 4:57 a.m. GMT

Japan becomes the fifth country to land a spacecraft on the moon

TOKYO (AP) — Japan became the fifth country in history to reach the moon when one of its spacecrafts without astronauts successfully made a soft landing on the lunar surface early Saturday. However, space officials said they needed more time to analyze whether the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM, achieved its mission priority of making a pinpoint landing. They also said the craft's solar panel had failed to generate power, which could shorten its activity on the moon. Space officials believe that the SLIM's small rovers were launched as planned and that data was being transmitted back to Earth, said Hitoshi Kuninaka, head of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, a unit of Japan's space agency.