Wednesday, June 10, 2009

So Long, Selene

The Japanese probe Kaguya (Selene) has been orbiting the Moon since October 2007, and sending back gigabytes of information, including amazing HD videos like this one of Earth setting (you can find more here). It's now reached the end of its mission and will crash onto the Moon's surface at 18.30 GMT today, hitting the lower right segment of the nearside, at the edge of the Moon's unlit portion. But that's not the end of the probe's scientific usefulness: the scar left by its impact will be monitored to see how solar radiation and micrometeorite impacts will alter the exposed regolith over time. And it isn't the end of the new wave of Moon exploration, either. India's Chandrayaan-1 probe is still in Lunar orbit, and will be joined by not one but two US probes later this year. No-one has announced plans to return human beings to the moon yet, but it's only a matter of time...

UPDATE: first image of impact posted here.


Anonymous Sergey said...

Thank you, footage is impressive.
It is still hard to believe that we are living in the world where it all - a part of everyday life, detail to which rare persons pay their attention.

June 10, 2009 3:24 pm  
Blogger Paul McAuley said...

Back in the days of Apollo, I thought we'd be commuting there by now. Next best thing, finding this stuff out there in the wild.

June 11, 2009 6:19 pm  

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