When Japan launched its lunar orbiter Kaguya into space in 2007, they made sure it was equipped with two high definition camera’s, as they wanted to capture some unique new footage. Even though the child Kaguya was named after eventually returned home, this Kaguya’s fate was different. Its life came to an end when it was crashed into the south-east of near side of the Moon on June 10, 2009. But not before capturing a truckload of stunning imagery.
Seven years after Kaguya’s unfortunate death, the Japanese space agency was finally ready to release all of the “HDTV data” the orbiter had been capturing in its flight. Included: a lot of images that have never before been shown to the public, but certainly are worth discovering. That’s where Resource Travel comes into play.
Some of the images show the moon’s mauled surface in never before seen detail. Others capture a stunning portrait of our planet from a distance of 11,000 kilometers, or show an amazing half or full Earth rise at the Moon’s horizon.
Among other things, according to National Geographic, Kaguya’s gathered proof of much younger volcanism than expected, hinting that the Moon was geologically active for far longer than scientists thought. Other than that, Kaguya also revealed a potential hazard for future lunar visitors: a strong electric field forms near the lunar surface around the time of a full moon.
A lot more imagery – HD stills and their often accompanying video’s – can be found on darts.isas.jaxa.jp.
[via National Geographic]