Top Of The Moon

JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) has taken the first ever High Definition Television pictures of the moon. The images were taken by the Kaguya (aka SELENE) satellite (which I reported about earlier) from an altitude of just 100 kilometers (62 miles), as Kaguya came over the North Pole of the Moon.

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Here are three frames from the video. The amount of detail is stunning. The first image below is from a video taken within one degree of the North Pole in the "Oceanus Procellarum" - the dark area in the northern left part of the moon as we see it from Earth. Note how the angle of the sunlight at the pole makes for long shadows. Do click on the pictures to see much larger versions. I find them absolutely breathtaking.

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The second picture was taken as KAGUYA flew from the south to the north on the western side of the "Oceanus Procellarum." The dark area on the right is the Ocean and the light area on the left is called the Highland. The Ocean is dark because it is made of solidified magma.

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The next picture is from the second segment taken in the west side of the "Oceanus Procellarum". The crater in the center foreground is called "Repsold" which has a diameter of 107 km (66.5 miles). The channel which crosses it is called the Repsold Valley.

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To watch the video clips, click here (not HDTV quality on your screen of course, but spectacular all the same):

(The clips run one after the other on the same screen.)

The SELENE Mission website is here:
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The Moody Minstrel said...

It's nice to be getting even better acquainted with an old friend.

ladybug said...

This is cool! We showed it to our daughter, and she thought it was really "cool" too!

Pandabonium said...

Moody - now that she's back... I wonder how long a satellite orbiting the moon can remain in orbit? It seems to me that with no atmosphere to slow it down it could be a very, very long time.

Ladybug - glad you all enjoyed it. (That's you all, not y'all). The video is compressed 8 to 1, so appears faster than the true speed. We didn't have such beautiful pictures from the Apollo missions until they came back and developed their film.

Swinebread said...


QUASAR9 said...

Awesome picks
I guess Japan really leads on imagery - if there were any 'real' incentive to have a man on the moon (or mars), i dare say there'd be there too.
But for now the market is robotics and nano robotics on 'earth' and in space.

Happysurfer said...


Pandabonium said...

Swinebread, Quasar9, and Happysurfer

pretty amazing pics, and the video is very cool. NHK (the national TV/radio station of Japan) provided the HDTV cameras. Of course the satellites will be doing a lot of other data gathering as well. If and when the time comes for another "manned" mission, they will be far better prepared and able to focus on the most promising area for whatever that mission involves.