Japan’s ispace says moon lander probably crashed on lunar surface

Thread Starter


Joined Jan 12, 2015
That's the story in the press today regarding this attempted landing.

We read:

The company said it was possible that as the lander approached the moon, its altitude measurement system had miscalculated the distance to the surface.

“It apparently went into a freefall towards the surface as it was running out of fuel to fire up its thrusters,” Ryo Ujiie, the chief technology officer, told a news conference on Wednesday.

Japan, which has set itself a goal of sending astronauts to the moon by the late 2020s, has had some recent setbacks. The national space agency last month had to destroy its new medium-lift H3 rocket upon reaching space after its second-stage engine failed to ignite. Its solid-fuel Epsilon rocket also failed after launch in October.
Perhaps this too is not a failure, perhaps this too is actually a success? It is that line of thinking that might be the root of the problem both with iSpace and SpaceX - an inability to distinguish between success and failure, NASA in the 1960s had no such confusion.


Joined Mar 31, 2012
There's also a huge gulf between what the PR hacks say to the press and what the engineers and decision makers say behind closed doors, where it matters.

I remember, back in the day (1970s and 80s) when you could count on there being about one major airliner crash in the U.S. each year, that the PR folks never called them a crash. Instead, they kept latching onto different obscure terms that would change every few years. My favorite was "involuntary conversion", as in, "One of our aircraft underwent an involuntary conversion earlier today."

Where did the term come from? It's an accounting/tax term dealing with property that is destroyed but for which some form of compensation (usually insurance) is received. In essence, the aircraft was converted to cash, just as if it had been sold. But how it is treated for tax purposes is different when the conversion is voluntary (sold) versus involuntary (natural disaster, theft, crash, etc) since the latter is a situation in which the business didn't have the ability to plan or control things.

Even as a teenager, I thought that was stupid and disingenuous. I would even talk back to the TV and say something like, "So, how many passengers were involuntarily converted?"

But it's how PR people think.