NASA releases before and after images of attempted lunar landing site

NASA has released images of a section of the moon's surface, where a Japanese spacecraft tried to make the world's first privately funded lunar landing last month.

The HAKUTO-1 Mission Lunar Lander, developed by the venture firm ispace, was scheduled to touch down on the moon early on April 26, Japan time, but it lost communication with the control center.

The company later said it is highly probable that the lander miscalculated its altitude and made a hard landing.

On Tuesday, NASA released images shot, by a lunar orbiter last month, of the area where the craft is believed to have crashed.

Analysts compared the photos taken before and after the landing attempt. In the images taken after the attempt, at least four areas with what appear to be newly formed bright spots and shadows can be seen.

NASA says a central feature seen in one image differs from nearby boulders. It suggests "this could be a small crater or different parts of the lander body."

An area that is about 60 to 80 meters wide appears to have become brighter than the surrounding regions in the wake of the planned landing.

NASA says the site will be further analyzed over the coming months.